Never Wrestle with a Pig
There are those who seem to turn every conversation into a contest. You know who they are…you have almost certainly encountered them at some time or other. You may even have them in your family.
It’s a contest to make themselves the topic.
You can open the conversation by talking about how difficult it has been since you lost your job, and pretty soon you are talking about their new boat.
It’s a contest to have the best story.
No matter how bad the storm you tell about, no matter how stupid your mistake, no matter how funny the incident; their storm is worse, their mistake was stupider, and their incident is funnier. (Or so they believe.)
It’s a contest to be the quickest to fill any lapse in the conversation.
Good conversations have momentary lapses when no one speaks for a moment. Conversations with the person we’re talking about here will not have such lapses. They will regard any lapses as an opportunity to fill them with the sound of their voice, and may even interrupt you while you are talking. “Oh, You’re so right about that. In fact….” and continue with their own illustration of the point you were trying to make.
It’s a contest to see who the biggest victim is.
…of someone else’s greed, thoughtlessness, stupidity, malice, entitlement, etc, etc, etc. No matter how outrageous your example, theirs will be even more so. You won’t have a chance.
It’s a contest to appear more important.
…to anyone else who might be privy to your conversation. In fact, if you are engaged in conversation with such a person, the fact that others are listening raises the stakes of “winning” by an order of magnitude.
Here’s my best advice:
When the conversation is a competition, “The only winning move is not to play.” (W.O.P.R. from the movie “War Games,” 1983)
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