Shutting Down/Diverting Upsetting or Controversial Topics with Friends

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Shutting Down/Diverting Upsetting or Controversial Topics with Friends

Post by InkAndComb on Wed Oct 14, 2015 10:19 pm

I literally just made a rant about this, but I think I need some actual scripts from people if that's ok.

Due to the nature of my work, I have a lot more information and experience at my disposal in regards to understanding victims/survivors of trauma, abuse, and the nature of mental health (and how to assist persons with it, etc).

On the other hand, everyone seems to have opinions about this stuff, and some of them are very damaging and invalidating.

Recently I've been having some issues with certain friends of friends, or friends in general, who...say things that are just...not right.

I don't mean "not right" in a "Oh I disagree" way, but "...no that's not how that works."

Like someone who insists depression is people being "lazy", or that there "is no scientific evidence for _____ and people just made that up", but there *is* evidence or other items that support something.

Because of the nature of my field, it is hard for me not to advocate and gently correct (I say gently because I have been working on reeling back how i feel personally regarding these things), but there are times where I need to be able to shut down discussions or just divert them *not* to certain topics.

These include: feminism/privilege, how to treat mental illness, how to react to someone who is experiencing a panic attack or trauma, what actually is rape and what can we do to help survivors of assault (Without saying things like "self defense " or "mace", etc).

Especially with someone who is trying to goad me into taking "their side", how can I...discourage/divert the conversation from that?

I honestly was so stymied when a friend thought we needed "tiers of rape classification, like...rape-rape versus accidental rape" that I couldn't figure out what to say beyond "that's a dangerous area you're treading in, and I think maybe we should stop talking about it because it sounds like we're about to invalidate person's experiences based on how we personally think they should react to trauma, versus how they actually do react".

Suggestions? Scripts? Anyone have to deal with this in their friend groups? Sad
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Re: Shutting Down/Diverting Upsetting or Controversial Topics with Friends

Post by Enail on Wed Oct 14, 2015 10:30 pm

I think something pretty straightforward like "that's not something I feel like talking about right now. Seen any good movies lately?" might be the simplest. Anything with more explanation of why is likely to turn it into a discussion, probably a very rage-inducing one.
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Re: Shutting Down/Diverting Upsetting or Controversial Topics with Friends

Post by reboot on Wed Oct 14, 2015 11:12 pm

I tend to weed people like that out of my social group or (if for some reason I cannot persona non grata them) at least teach them to fear me enough that they do not express such thoughts. I tend to go for things such as:

"Interesting that you think that since buckets of research contradict it. However did you reach that opinion?"

"Wow! That is ignorant."

"So where did you acquire your vast expertise on _________?"

"Hum. Really? I thought that theory died about the same time as the gold standard/phrenology/spontaneous generation"

Or in a setting where I control access, "People with your bigoted/ignorant opinions are not welcome here. Please leave now. Yes I am serious. You have 3 minutes."

Obviously this works for me because I am fine with being confrontational, making it awkward, and losing any friends that agree with the person, but it is not a style that works for everyone. But you might be able to de-harshify some of the approaches.
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Re: Shutting Down/Diverting Upsetting or Controversial Topics with Friends

Post by Caffeinated on Wed Oct 14, 2015 11:38 pm

A phrase I've used when someone I care about says something alarmingly ill-informed/bigoted: "I disagree with that one hundred percent." And then I get quiet and let them either backtrack or change the subject themselves. I don't use an angry tone or a tone that suggests I'm interested in debating, just firm.
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Re: Shutting Down/Diverting Upsetting or Controversial Topics with Friends

Post by BasedBuzzed on Thu Oct 15, 2015 6:20 am

"I have had this same discussion too many times before. But there's this awesome blogger called DoctorNerdlove who talks about these conceptions from a guy's perspective."
*watch comments section as he will inevitably want to debate, make popcorn*
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Re: Shutting Down/Diverting Upsetting or Controversial Topics with Friends

Post by reboot on Thu Oct 15, 2015 9:01 am

BasedBuzzed wrote:"I have had this same discussion too many times before. But there's this awesome blogger called DoctorNerdlove who talks about these conceptions from a guy's perspective."
*watch comments section as he will inevitably want to debate, make popcorn*

MOD

BasedBuzzed, do you have any advice to give to Ink and Comb? Or are you just baiting? It is not clear from your comment. Either stay on topic or stay out of the thread.

/MOD
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Re: Shutting Down/Diverting Upsetting or Controversial Topics with Friends

Post by BasedBuzzed on Thu Oct 15, 2015 10:16 am

Clarification: If she is tired of having these discussions, the Doc is a)a good resource to direct him to get him out of her hair, as he has a bunch of articles that deal with the opinions the dude's displaying and b)since the person sounds exactly like the usual ranters that get deconstructed in the comments section, watching him flail with the "research is made up" claims can give a feeling of comeuppance(question sample sizes/confounders? ah-okay. saying the evidence is all made up without backing it up in anyway? bad bad bad).

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Re: Shutting Down/Diverting Upsetting or Controversial Topics with Friends

Post by reboot on Thu Oct 15, 2015 10:55 am

That is much more helpful. Thank you.

Ink and Comb, how central is this guy to your friend group? Is he someone you can block and generally avoid? Or is it someone who you cannot disassociate with? Are you close? And does he have other good qualities and just happens to have some toxic views?
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Re: Shutting Down/Diverting Upsetting or Controversial Topics with Friends

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