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AIBU to ask for tips to deal with combative/argumentative person?

(17 Posts)
Plmoknijb123 Fri 26-Jun-20 14:16:54

Just the above really...I have a family member in my extended family who is extremely combative, to the point that it’s compulsive. For example, if I say it’s a hot day, they will say it’s not that hot. If I say my child’s hair colour is brown, they’ll disagree and say it’s black. It extends from the tiniest thing to big things, to the extent that I can barely tolerate them.

As they are family, I want to try and find a way to understand/work with this person but I’ve never encountered this before. Does anyone have any experience/tips?

OP’s posts: |
mbosnz Fri 26-Jun-20 14:19:13

Yep. Avoid engaging with them as much as possible. If not possible, agree equably to anything they say, no matter how outrageous, with an amused half smile on your face. Drives 'em nuts.

MikeUniformMike Fri 26-Jun-20 14:22:23

exactly what pp mbosnz said.

IrenetheQuaint Fri 26-Jun-20 14:22:48

Agree with them in a vague distracted manner, as you are clearly thinking of something more interesting.

The80sweregreat Fri 26-Jun-20 14:23:16

I havent any advice for you , but I hear you as so many people I know are like this!
They have to contradict you or say the opposite just to wind me up I'm sure if it! It seems whatever i say just isn't good enough.
Don't get me started on the ' do as I say , not as I do' types too!
Such hard work at times.
Nodding and smiling might be a good idea. (Then come on Mumsnet for a moan about them all! )
I've let people drop out of my life over the years because of this type of behavior.
With family it's harder of course!

iklboo Fri 26-Jun-20 14:23:59

'I don't think you're a twat' grin

mbosnz Fri 26-Jun-20 14:26:03

Agree with them in a vague distracted manner, as you are clearly thinking of something more interesting.

Oooh, that's a fun one too!

Oh, and there's, when they say something like 'well I think DD's hair is blue', saying with an amused smile, 'of course you do. . .'

I have one family member who gets to that point, usually after a dozen too many, and I'll straight out say, 'oh, we've reached that point have we? ' and I'll walk off, refusing to engage with them again.

JustC Fri 26-Jun-20 14:29:21

If low contact not an option, just say a non commital 'hm' and move on to smth else. I do that to one of my aunts who always makes comments on my physical appearance everytime she sees me( about once a year). I just go hmm and move on to a diff topic. Can't be bothered to tell her every time she's wrong and I know my body better than her.

YanTanTethera01 Fri 26-Jun-20 15:03:20

Have a DC just like this, seems to relish from stating the opposite of my opinions. I refuse to debate every minute detail of our lives. It's hot in here/it's freezing; it's dinner time/you just ate literally 4 hours ago; I coloured my hair light brown/it's more like red; you're very snappy at the moment/big sigh then I'm fine.

Come to the conclusion she can't actually stand me so I now disengage, read a book, listen to music or go out. It's a nightmare so I feel for you.

bluemolly Fri 26-Jun-20 15:03:22

Just be really boring to argue with. Say “ok” or “yup” and then change the subject.

BurtsBeesKnees Fri 26-Jun-20 15:15:05

Yeah, you're right will answer most things

Oh it's hot today
It's not that hit
Yeah, you're right

That boys hair is brown
No it's black
Yeah, you're right

But said in a vague, glassy eyes way

Sicario Fri 26-Jun-20 15:25:20

Look up "grey rock technique". Very handy with vexatious people.

I solved a similar problem by going completely non contact. You don't need shitty people in your life.

PreggoFeminist86 Fri 26-Jun-20 15:28:22

Grey Rock method is worth a Google. You essentially give them nothing to argue against until they fuck off grin

MatildaTheCat Fri 26-Jun-20 15:34:04

My SIL can be like this, she starts almost every reply with No. I’m just used to it now though sometimes it irritates me. Weirdly after a discussion she often ends up in broad agreement.

However her DD was doing it and had very few friends. We spend quite a lot of time together and I pointed out that saying No to everything wasn’t very friendly. I made up a game where she had to really try not to do it and I called her out ( in a nice way) whenever she did it. It did help.

For truly miserable bastards I’d probably just give them a wide birth or just say, Oh, ok.

SpilltheTea Fri 26-Jun-20 15:36:50

Don't feed them by engaging.

Plmoknijb123 Fri 26-Jun-20 15:44:21

Wow thanks all, this is very helpful! I sometimes feel almost sorry for people who are argumentative because everyone just seems to avoid them. I wonder whether they know how unpleasant they are.

OP’s posts: |
Sicario Fri 26-Jun-20 19:38:08

@SpilltheTea is right about "don't feed the troll". People like that just go around looking for arguments.

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