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Another Communication Anti-Pattern encountered in the wild.

One of the things I often post about is Communications Patterns and Anti-patterns. One of the most intriguing anti-patterns I have encountered over the years is the I am right, and you have dismissed me anti-pattern. I don’t have a cool name for that one; it is one that makes me nervous. When I realize I have entered a conversation or discussion with someone in that Anti-pattern space, I try to get out. You know you have hit this anti-pattern when they keep repeating the same things but don’t acknowledge that you also posted something. Socrates, the master of rhetoric, spoke of the concept of discussion. A discussion is where two people have differing ideas, both sides present their views, and they two sides move on.

A discussion that model is where both sides present, there is no acceptance of one side, and from there it decays into what we call an argument. Look, arguments are healthy. Arguments are a good thing. But when the anti]pattern above emerges the argument is no longer mutual. That person is always right. Based on their being right all facts they present are facts. The argument usually ends with one side declaring they are right. That, by the way, is the final tactic of the I am right, and you’ve dismissed anti-pattern. The declaration that their argument was not heard and that they were right in the first place.

I learned many years ago that when you meet someone online or in person with this communication anti-pattern, the best thing you can do is to give them, and yourself a way out of the discussion with dignity. You simply post things like “I understand your point. We disagree, but that is ok.” Or any of the many iterations of that type of sentence. Give them a way out with dignity. The reality is based on that anti-pattern they won’t take the way out, but the best you can do as a person is offering it.

Remember that when they declare victory, the conversation is over. Well sadly the conversation is actually over the minute they start arguing. Once the anti-pattern reveals itself the best thing you can do is stop. You can’t win. When someone with that anti-pattern asks for an opinion they are looking for people to agree with their opinion; they are not open to new ideas. They are only open to what they want to hear.

What do you think?

8 points

Written by DocAndersen

I am a long time blogger and technology poster.I focus on what is possible, but I also try to see what is coming. In recent years I have been focused on sharing the memories of my family, as part of my Family History Project.


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  1. Thank you for pointing this out. I’m afraid that too much political discussion these days follows this anti-pattern. I’ve learned to say that we’ll just have to agree to disagree. Many do-called discussions are no more than shouting matches where the loudest one declares victory. No wonder we can’t find solutions to our problems. We don’t really listen to each other and try to find alternative solutions neither side has thought of yet.

    • I always worry when someone declares victory. It shows a lack of respect for the other side that is alarming. I think the anonymous nature of the internet is part of the problem, it is ok to treat people poorly that you have never or will never meet.

      • Unfortunately, some people even treat people they have met that way. I had a former colleague post this today: “If you are a Trump supporter, please unfriend me.” It was the image, not directed at me in particular. Since I never had met her in person and actually couldn’t remember how I knew here until I checked her friend list, I had no problem complying with her wishes after posting , “If you insist” in response.

          • I hate watching what this does to families and genuine friendships established over the years. It appears the time when people reasoned together to find solutions to problems is over. It seems emotions reign now and too many get their significance from believing they are right. If someone disagrees with them, it threatens their significance in their own eyes.

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