How to throw someone under the bus might seem a weird topic.
But there are many social situations when you’re basically forced to throw someone under the bus. And it’s good to understand how it works, both if you have to do it, or if someone is trying to push you under the big vehicle.
What Throwing Under The Bus Means
To give a wide definition, throwing someone under the bus means lowering someone’s social status and/or cutting him out of the social group.
The person you throw under the bus is usually not an open enemy. And sometimes you might have a honest relationship with them.
But they have done such a big mistake that they risk dragging you or others down with them.
At that point, as painful as it might be, you need to cut them lose to avoid a domino effect. And that’s when you have to throw them under the bus.
When You Need to Throw Someone Under The Bus
There are several situations when you need to throw someone under the bus:
- They made an offensive comment
And if you don’t distance yourself it might seem like you are tacitly agreeing with them. And in many situations, you might not want that.
Here’s an example of McCain throwing his own supporters under the bus:
- They make a socially dangerous comment involving you
Here’s an example that happened to me some time ago. We were sitting down me, a friend and a couple. The friend made a joke of me being a threat to their relationship status (for possibly going after her).
That’s a kind of joke when you need to throw your friend under the bus.
- They’re butting in on a conversation they have no place to join
You’re having a private conversation, or you are hitting it off with a girl. And here comes a clueless guy trying to talk to you.
He might not have bad intentions, but at that point it’s either you give up your 1:1 conversation or… You throw him under the bus.
How to Throw Someone Under The Bus
The general under the bus throwing power move follows this structure:
- Social faux pas from the bus lover
- Hit him (socially)
- Move on
- .. And leave him on the outside with no way of hitting back
Throwing under the bus is not about escalating or making a big fuss. It’s about hitting and then moving on leaving the bus lover without recourse.
It’s a ruthless yet subtle move from your side.
Here are a few ways:
- Turning your back on them
- Not replying
- Pretending they’re not there
- Turn your face away
- Make a disgusted face for everyone to see
- Start a conversation with someone else, leaving him alone
- Leaving and letting him stand alone
Throwing Someone Under The Bus Example
Watch this video and see if you can spot the move:
Of course you can, you wouldn’t be reading here otherwise :).
Here’s how she did it:
Throwing under the bus usually is not a nasty escalation or an all out war.
In this case, Trump had authority over her, so avoiding any nastiness was a must. And her smile keeps the semblance of acceptance and goodwill.
A smile or any signs of friendliness is not a necessary must, but without it’s much nastier. See an example here:
2. Social Slap (Sarcasm)
Next comes the hit. It could be coldly uttering “thanks” or sarcastically saying “very funny”.
In this case, it was nonverbal sarcasm expressed her with her smile.
It’s as if she was saying:
Funny, veeeery funny, Donald
Right after that, she cuts him out.
3. Cut Him Out
The next move, is to distance yourself from him, or to cut him off from the interaction.
In the Donald Trump example, she turns her face away from him and towards the other guy who was speaking. That effectively ignores him and cuts him out of the interaction.
It also adds a further social slap as it communicates he’s not worthy of her attention.
Saving Someone From The Bus
In this case, Donald Trump was partially saved by the man who laughed at his joke. That was a life preserver that he threw him. On the other hand, she was aided by the cowboy guy who kept speaking and all the other around who ignored the joke.
Indeed, the people around you can make all the difference in how a social power move will play out. Read more here:
And that’s one of the advantages of having lots of power: all the sycophants around will side with the power.
Throwing someone under the bus is rarely a pleasurable activity.
But some times, you just gotta do it to avoid letting the bus lover drag you down. This article showed you a great example of how to throw someone under the bus with great social grace.