Re: Overgeneralizing about abrasive people

1

I enjoy the "I'm just kidding around" sort of abrasiveness. But I find that all too often the kidding and teasing is actually a cover for really wanting to give you shit for every little thing you are doing wrong.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 6:36 AM
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Oh me too, I love the silly hard-ass routine. In fact, I possibly live by that.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 6:40 AM
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This is such bullshit.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 6:41 AM
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.....Well...............................................................................I don't agree.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 6:42 AM
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I sometimes feel I slip through the cracks in part because people who don't have strong ideas or expertise think I'm a jackass when I say I know something and then, when challenged, back it up. I don't bullshit, and I don't tend to let things slide if I disagree. The flip side of that is that if I don't have evidence to make a strong claim about something, I really can't give a shit about it. I'm not going to fight about stuff for no reason. I don't like fighting.

I have certainly dated people who thought I would be the ball-busting mistress they wanted, and I'm just not that. I'm not going to yell at you or make fun of you for not liking or knowing about things I do. But I'm also not going to sit there and listen to bullshit.

That's like 9/10 of my first dates. Guy tells me some factoid about my area of study that he heard once or saw in an advertisement or something. I smile and explain why it's not true. He gets angry and explains it's from an advertisement he saw. I explain that it's kind of what I do for a living. Neither of us ever wants to speak to each other again. The other 1/10 is some guy begging me to make fun of him.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 7:04 AM
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5 is me, unsurprisingly.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 7:06 AM
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I don't think I should set you up with my friend in the OP.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 7:09 AM
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5.3 makes me ever so glad (frightfully glad, in fact) that I don't have to date straight guys. That would be nightmarish.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 7:10 AM
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Let me be the FIRST to ask a definitional question -- what do you mean by abrasive? To me abrasive sounds unequivocally bad -- literally someone who rubs you the wrong way! Are you talking about someone like Marisa Tomei in My Cousin Vinny, ie the tough girl with attitude? Because IME that is a Texas girl thing though with a slightly different accent.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 7:14 AM
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ie the tough girl with attitude?

No, not quite. It's not independent/cowgirl/etc. It's someone who will challenge every last thing you say in conversation. Contrarian.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 7:16 AM
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I'm a contrarian when people are wrong. I don't think that's what he means by abrasive, though, right? It's not like he wants to learn from someone who will challenge him when he's bullshitting. He just wants friction.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 7:20 AM
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To me abrasive means something that cannot be reconciled with anything worth tolerating. Maybe I'm misunderstanding the personality type being described here. I know people who like to argue, but I wouldn't call it abrasive unless it starts to get personal and directly, intentionally hurtful. At that point you're just dealing with an asshole who needs a punch in the throat, so it's best to just walk away.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 7:20 AM
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It's someone who will challenge every last thing you say in conversation.

Maybe he's not sane. Why would anyone want that?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 7:21 AM
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It's someone who will challenge every last thing you say in conversation. Contrarian.

Ugh...

"Has strong opinions and will argue for them" is fine, but "contrarian" would drive me crazy.

I blame Slate.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 7:22 AM
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This parrot's dead!
No its not.
Yes it is
Not
Is


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 7:24 AM
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I'm a contrarian when people are wrong. I don't think that's what he means by abrasive, though, right?

If you were sufficiently judgmental to find fault with nearly everything (which I don't think you are), this would qualify.

It's not like he wants to learn from someone who will challenge him when he's bullshitting. He just wants friction.

Both, but definitely the latter.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 7:24 AM
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I'm a contrarian when people are wrong.

That's not being contrarian, it's being right. It may not make you Ms Popularity, because there's an idiotic social convention that when somebody says, "I sincerely believe that the moon is made of green cheese", politeness demands that you smile indulgently and admit that it's a point of view, instead of looking round to ensure that there's nothing sharp within their reach. But correcting people who are wrong is an important function of people who know stuff.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 7:27 AM
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Well, I also wouldn't keep dating someone who was wrong about everything, in the sense of making baseless strong claims. I tried this in the past and it was so fucking frustrating for both of us. He would say something idiotic about literary history ("Well, I just think that Shakespeare..."), and I stopped challenging him once I realized he didn't want to know anything; he just liked thinking things. I can't stand fighting with unarmed people.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 7:29 AM
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I think Heebie just means people who like playing devil's advocate. There's a difference between arguing for something when you know the opposite to be true, for fun, and just coming up with rebuttals to arguments on topics you really don't know shit about on the spot.


Posted by: John Stapleton | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 8:03 AM
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"he didn't want to know anything; he just liked thinking things"

I worry about falling too much into this trap for myself. I'm gonna write this down on my "Warning Signs" list. Also, I have a hard time remembering that most people don't like to argue all of the time. I call it "conversation", but I understand that other people have a different definition.


Posted by: JupiterGee | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 8:04 AM
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The one I have a hard time remembering is: nosiness is not synonymous with love and affection for most people. I can keep my own nosiness in check, because I know other people are private.

But occasionally I get my feelings hurt because nobody is ever nosy about me. I have to actively remind myself that I'm not around people who equate nosiness with love and affection. Still I kind of miss it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 8:07 AM
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Also, 17 and 11 are right, but that attitude will automatically make you an odious smartass in countries where the social convention in 17 is part of the national pride, as it is in many latin american countries. I should know.


Posted by: John Stapleton | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 8:08 AM
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Also, I have a hard time remembering that most people don't like to argue all of the time. I call it "conversation", but I understand that other people have a different definition.

My parents told me that they used to argue for fun all the time, but when I was a baby it distressed me, so they had to stop and lost the habit. I wonder if this is how long term couples become boring.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 8:09 AM
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I think a lot of it is just what you're used to. When I was growing up, if you were talking to a friend, everybody understood that it was a real sign of friendship and respect to make a loud bleating noise every time your interlocutor started to talk, but now I feel like sometimes people don't know how to read it when I do that.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 8:10 AM
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Certainly I've had to become less reactive since leaving NYC. When you bring up the ghosts that live in your house and the "Native American exorcism ceremony" you had performed over the phone to get rid of them, I am supposed to understand this as a delightful quirk of yours, if not ask for the exorcist's number because indeed all of these old houses are haunted, aren't they. It's really really hard for me to make friends here.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 8:14 AM
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25: To be serious for a moment, if you're going to live somewhere where it's taboo to challenge people when they say shit like that (which it is here, too), you have to learn to connect with a person on avenues where you can see eye-to-eye, and ignore it where you can't. And too much is a deal-breaker.

I would not be close friends with the person in your story, but there are certainly people like that in my circle of friends. It's not that different than someone who talks about the healing power of crystals, and why they have them located around the house. Ok, I'm going ignore your crystal-talk, and connect with you about politics. Or whatever.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 8:20 AM
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24 is funny.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 8:20 AM
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you have to learn to connect with a person on avenues where you can see eye-to-eye, and ignore it where you can't. And too much is a deal-breaker.

(You don't have to. It's the strategy I've adopted.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 8:21 AM
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If, in your circle of friends, you can't tell who the abrasive one is, it's you.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 8:25 AM
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I'm not contrarian, at all, I don't think. I do quite like arguing, though, if it's not with someone who takes shit personally, or is going to get huffy when I pwn them. By the same token, I don't mind at all when other people pwn me (given certain basic fairness/non-arsehole parameters).

However, that's about _stuff_.* I'm not at all abrasive about _people_ themselves to their face, which is what I think the OP means by ball-busting, maybe? The interpersonal slagging matches of my teenage years are long gone. Good friends all take the piss out of each other, but it's not really ball-busting (in OP sense).

* one of the side-effects of knowing a lot of _stuff_ is that I bite my tongue a lot with friends who aren't so keen on the arguing, though.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 8:25 AM
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26: I guess for me the weird white-lady appropriation of "Native American culture" is a step too far. That shit is just ignorant and racist.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 8:27 AM
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Taking the piss without ball-busting requires high accuracy.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 8:27 AM
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31: The fact that it's Native American really is too far. But equivalent misunderstandings of science could be passable, minus the racism.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 8:29 AM
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25: You should try Florida. (Not really.) I've basically given up on conversations with human beings here. It's just far too likely that some shockingly horrifying thing will come out of their mouth and I'll have to figure out a way to respond. A seemingly pleasant conversation with another mom once devolved into her telling me that we should kill all the sea turtles, because it's flat-out evil that our government cares more about them than about the unborn.

Also, people hit their kids. Like, think it's normal and expected and not a big deal to hit their kids. I'd find it much easier to be cool with the native American phone ceremony.

(And LizardBreath, thank you so much for the Amazon review. I'm told authors shouldn't respond to reviews, that it disturbs some sacred author/reader distance, but whatever. It was a fun review, made me smile, and I'm glad you enjoyed the story.)


Posted by: Sarah Wynde | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 8:33 AM
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Also, people hit their kids. Like, think it's normal and expected and not a big deal to hit their kids.

Anecdata: the first peer I've hung out with who talks openly about spanking their children does in fact live in Florida.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 8:37 AM
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You need to be strict with kids when they can be shot by a stranger the instant they look like they have stepped out of line.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 8:39 AM
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34: Oh god, there have been so many budding friendships here that I nipped after a sudden imitation of a black ghetto person (prompted by me mentioning I was spending the weekend in Philadelphia), or long justifications over dinner about how my host's company won't hire those fucking lazy Puerto Ricans who are ruining everything in this town. People here are generally rather unfriendly, but, to be honest, I stop being friendly pretty quickly here too.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 8:48 AM
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I guess you have to choose, do you want to be surrounded by morons, or do you want to be surrounded by psychopaths?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 8:52 AM
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Slightly apropos, I have recently learned that even well-educated, accomplished, intelligent women of a thoughtful stripe do not like to have their decorating/food recommendations interpreted by reference to the doctrine of the will to power.

Next up: the eternal return of the same!


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 8:53 AM
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You should try Florida. (Not really.) I've basically given up on conversations with human beings here. It's just far too likely that some shockingly horrifying thing will come out of their mouth and I'll have to figure out a way to respond. A seemingly pleasant conversation with another mom once devolved into her telling me that we should kill all the sea turtles, because it's flat-out evil that our government cares more about them than about the unborn.

So Florida is like Facebook except in RL?

Yikes.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 8:57 AM
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I guess you have to choose, do you want to be surrounded by morons, or do you want to be surrounded by psychopaths?

The art is to thread a course between the two. Any practical hints welcome.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 9:01 AM
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Isn't "abrasive" one of those southern code words for "Jewish"?


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 9:02 AM
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Sort of, yes? Or at least nebulously ethnic north-eastern types.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 9:04 AM
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Jewish or just Yankee, depending on context.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 9:04 AM
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Those abrasive people! Always sticking their big fat nose in your business. Always horning in where they don't belong. Won't ever just shut up and eat their bacon like everybody else. Never just want to sit and relax, always bugging you about scoring some baby blood for their damn nilla wafer or whatever it is.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 9:05 AM
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38 gets it right. Also "I'm not abrasive, I'm just right about things and want to let you know that you're wrong" is definitely a "don't try this at home" strategy. Unless you're cute, of course.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 9:10 AM
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46: That's a pretty dickish thing to say, Halford. So when I suddenly find myself in an argument with some loser who keeps insisting that he saw something about Jane Austen on TV or whatever, I should tee-hee and keep my trap shut so I can preserve this important relationship in my life? To be sure, a man would never argue with a woman.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 9:15 AM
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37
Eek. I hate that shit. I always become a little insecure about whether or not there was some sign I was giving to the other person that made them comfortable enough to open that door.
*wink, wink...lowers voice, "of course, I have a black friend..."
Ugh. Actually just happened last week.


Posted by: JupiterGee | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 9:17 AM
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47: Their's probably a line to be drawn. At a certain point, your spending all you're time correcting other people's grammer.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 9:19 AM
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I wasn't addressing that to you, specifically, at all. I just mean that it's a hard thing to pull off well and there are few people who can do it successfully (and, of course, there's always the risk that one isn't right). Or, there's often a depressing choice between asserting that you are right in areas that you know you're right, and getting along, and pulling off the balance is a real trick that takes real work. I think this is actually true in any relationship, including in one between two ostensibly smart people.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 9:20 AM
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49: That's a fucking lost cause. But I'm not going to sit there and get lectured about my life's work by someone who thinks he thunk a thought after watching TV the other day.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 9:21 AM
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50: Cool. Agreed. But I think part of being an intelligent person is knowing the boundaries of one's intelligence and recognizing someone else's expertise. Around someone who knows more than I do, I ask questions or suggest possibilities, but I'm not going to make assertions based on nothing.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 9:22 AM
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50 to 47. Or, put differently, learning just how to assert that you're "right" in an area that's important to you without turning people off or away from you is a real skill that takes practice and attention.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 9:23 AM
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whether or not there was some sign I was giving to the other person that made them comfortable enough to open that door.

IME the fact that you're white and everybody within earshot is white is sign enough. Such people assume that everybody* shares their views secretly, but have been intimidated into concealing them.

*'everybody' here means all white people, who are, after all, the people who matter.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 9:25 AM
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@51

This is one area where folks in sciencey fields have an easier time of it.

Laypeople are generally accepting of the idea that there's an actual body of knowledge there that might actually take some time and effort to learn and understand.

It's the Humanities folks who constantly run into the "Oh, you read books? Hey I read books too!" reaction.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 9:29 AM
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So Florida is like Facebook except in RL?

A frothy mix of asinine prejudices and half-witted opinions condensed into a stream and blasted into your eyeholes and earballs continually? Yes.


Posted by: Man Suit | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 9:30 AM
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Liz Lemon at a singles event, being chatted up by a guy talking about the "Marines" in Avatar: "They weren't Marines. Some of them were former Marines. But they were mercenaries working for a space mining company. What? Should we just sit here and be wrong all day?"


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 9:30 AM
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Laypeople are generally accepting of the idea that there's an actual body of knowledge there that might actually take some time and effort to learn and understand.

Depends on the science.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 9:31 AM
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46-53: This conversation is depressing me unspeakably. In quick succession, lately, I've found myself managing to be idiotically sure of myself in areas where I don't know what I'm doing, abrasively correcting people for their wrongness, and acting like a doormat in situations where I'm responsible for asserting myself. I'm also having bad dreams about driving in a car with one of the attorneys I supervise and having him drive into a gas pump (okay, just one of those bad dreams, but it was enough).

I should really take some time off, if I could get permission. I've tried drinking heavily, but I just end up headachey and disapproving of myself.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 9:32 AM
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I've tried drinking heavily, but I just end up headachey and disapproving of myself.

I just find myself making comments about Hitler.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 9:35 AM
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Depends on the science.

I considered noting an explicit exception for climate change nutters and creationists, but couldn't be bothered.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 9:38 AM
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61: I was actually thinking of the various cognitive sciences, but that's a good one, too.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 9:39 AM
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It's the Humanities folks who constantly run into the "Oh, you read books? Hey I read books too!" reaction.

Chuckle. Subjectivity is a harsh mistress.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 9:39 AM
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62: You're only thinking of those because of the proximity heuristic.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 9:39 AM
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59 sounds horrible, but also much like the lives of most conscientious supervisors I've seen. Hang in there. Also, get more sleep?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 9:40 AM
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59: Anything with the word "science" in its name is not a science. Example: political science.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 9:48 AM
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There is a particular, real problem for literature PHDs dating lay people, which is that educated lay people are used to talking about books, movies, etc for fun but without the same degree of expertise or investment as the PHD. When I was in such a relationship as a lay person, it was kind of hard to go and see a movie and talk about it afterwards, because I was 99% sure that anything I had to say wouldn't be that interesting or well received. Same for books -- always an implicit judgmentalism going on about book selection or discussion. This made it a little hard to enjoy books or movies in a "normal" way. But it wasn't that big a deal and compensated heavily by the insight I picked up from her more attentive/scholarly knowledge.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 9:48 AM
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66: I don't think that's going to cheer LB up any.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 9:49 AM
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@67

It's a fine line I suppose. You don't want to be a conversation Nazi and forbid people to have opinions on anything they haven't studied for 10+ years. My sense is that AWB was referring to something else; people wandering into an area they don't know much about and taking up strongly held positions that are flat wrong in the "everyone knows that Shakespeare and Chaucer collaborated on the Illiad!" sense of flat wrong.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 9:59 AM
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68: LB's gotta learn the hard truths.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 10:05 AM
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Oh, I don't think AWB was saying that or insisting on ten years of study before voicing an opinion, either. It's just kind of an inherent issue that comes up in dating a literature PhD in a way that wouldn't come up in dating, say, an engineering prof.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 10:06 AM
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I definitely encountered some of the issues brought up in 67 when I was internet dating, though not in the same way, exactly. At least once or twice I went to a movie with someone and then would want to talk about it after, and the guy would just say something like, "I don't really like talking about the movies I just saw." That is incomprehensible to me.

There was also a time or two when I did discuss a movie with my date after, and would have a pretty good conversation, debate even, about it. But both of those led to the internet dating moment I have described here before, that instant when the guy decides that you are too smart / independent / opinionated / whatever for him and completely flips his attitude toward you. (If you're lucky, it goes from flirty/datey to just hanging out having an interesting conversation, but IME the guy more often got defensive or slightly combative.)


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 10:09 AM
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The literature PhD I'm married to doesn't seem to mind when I express opinions on books, movies, etc.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 10:12 AM
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Although maybe I should ease back on the "trying to invent novel German words" front.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 10:12 AM
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I am now happily settled with a non-academic, but back when I dated I went out with a lot of academics. Loved it -- I found that almost uniformly academics love explaining their field and I always learned a lot. (The exception is during the mid-later dissertation phase, where it's more like 'let's talk about anything besides my dissertation). Anyway, I love to ask questions and try to poke holes, and never had any problem doing that, it improved the conversation.

At least once or twice I went to a movie with someone and then would want to talk about it after, and the guy would just say something like, "I don't really like talking about the movies I just saw." That is incomprehensible to me.

Sadly, I was almost never able to find women who really liked analyzing movies, etc. after seeing them. It was always, like "I liked it/I didn't like it, what more do you want to know". Sigh.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 10:17 AM
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I like analyzing movies, but only the training montage.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 10:19 AM
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Even since Kenny Loggins retired, the montage just isn't the same.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 10:21 AM
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I'm sure you can all guess how I feel about this stuff.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 10:40 AM
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76: Me too!

I have been having a lot of problems relating to one of my cow-orkers because of the exact problem laid out above - insisting that he is right about something that I know he's quite wrong about, and not even remotely listening to me when I try to say, "Actually, the US isn't really like that..."* I've finally found that I just have to let it go, because I'd like to work in a happy environment and it just isn't worth fighting over.

*Or whatever it is; I just find it particularly funny to be told what the US is like by a non-American** who has spent 2 weeks there. (While I don't dispute that foreigners have long had more astute observations about countries than the residents themselves, I'm pretty sure this doesn't extend to say, knowing what type of housing is common on the West Coast, in this case.)

**Also, I suspect Americans really like doing this to other people.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 10:41 AM
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The woman you reprobates call Lunchy tells her colleagues that the questions that I have asked, from our first meeting, about her area of expertise, are good but often very difficult to answer in non-expert terms, which leaves us at an impasse.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 10:52 AM
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The woman you reprobates call Lunchy tells her colleagues that the questions that I have asked, from our first meeting, about her area of expertise, are good but often very difficult to answer in non-expert terms, which leaves us at an impasse.

And they in turn tell you? Or how else do you know this?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 10:57 AM
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Or how else do you know this?

That brooch wasn't given just because it looks good.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 11:03 AM
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79: You need to humiliate this person at all costs. That's a personality-type that needs to be made to suffer. If you're not willing to do it, outsource the job to ttaM.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 11:03 AM
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81: She tells them when introducing me. God knows what she says when I'm not around. (I suspect the terms "pigsty" and "cereal for dinner" occur.)


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 11:09 AM
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83: I totally agree, except I work with him 8 hours a day, 4 days a week, and there are only 3 other members of staff, at most, around during the day. Having one of them permanently pissed off at you is really uncomfortable, especially when you're the least popular already. Maybe I should outsource the job!


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 11:15 AM
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The original post can't be right. Popular culture informs me that everyone south of the Mason-Dixon line gets in a bar fight or vandalizes someone else's car roughly once a week, and the women are worse than the men. (Slightly more seriously, maybe there are different kinds of social gatherings your friend can try out? I gather Austin is a diverse place. If academia is too genteel for him, maybe a sports bar? Someplace with trivia night?)

In general rather than about dating specifically, one abrasive person per group works fine* but more than one causes problems quickly. I had a nearly weekly gathering of four friends for a while, and there were often arguments that almost got to the level of real fights between two people, IMO just because they both don't handle being wrong well. The other two of us would be happy to compromise, forget it, and move on if it was just the two of us and/or only one of them, but if both of them were involved at all, then it could go on for half an hour.

5 sounds a little like me, except that I'm not even an expert on anything (certain comic books, maybe?). On most subjects, either I have basically no beliefs strong enough that I'd bother defending, or I'm confident enough about my belief that talking about it would end in at least one person (probably not me, but you never know) looking like an idiot. It's a negative-sum game.

* Or at least, it can work fine. I'm sure some abrasive people are defective in other ways as well.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 11:21 AM
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(Slightly more seriously, maybe there are different kinds of social gatherings your friend can try out? I gather Austin is a diverse place. If academia is too genteel for him, maybe a sports bar? Someplace with trivia night?

He goes on dates with people he meets online. I have no doubt that his filtering mechanism is screwed up; he writes people off for stupid reasons IME. I'm not entirely sympathetic to his situation.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 11:29 AM
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He goes on dates with people he meets online.

Obviously some sort of crazy perv.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 11:37 AM
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My friend group here in the south is composed of mostly northeasterners (NY state, Philly, NS) who have the same conversational style - teasing, debating, fast talking and interrupting. We talk about how overlapping conversations makes us feel like we're real friends. We have two southern guys who are part of the group but fortunately they're not super outgoing and don't mind watching the conversation fly past them. Or they talk about baseball.

Argumentative guys and I always got along really well because I love to argue. The scary thing was that when I wasn't interested in a guy, and didn't turn down my argumentativeness to appropriate levels, a lot of guys got much much more interested in me. Like we'd be having a 'debate' and I would mock their opinions and they'd fall all over themselves to get my number.

It was really difficult to find an argumentative guy who could turn down the debate when important things were being discussed (things with feelings). And, of course, it took me years to learn to do the same thing.


Posted by: hydrobatidae | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 11:41 AM
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Like we'd be having a 'debate' and I would mock their opinions and they'd fall all over themselves to get my number.

You're a natural at the neg!


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 11:47 AM
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I wish, without any increase in my actual wrongness, that I had more people telling me when I was wrong.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 11:48 AM
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No you don't.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 11:52 AM
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I've adopted a policy of not offering any detailed response to a movie unless the conversation has already started down that path.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 11:56 AM
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90: I remember finally reading the details of 'negging' after spending years mocking it and realizing I definitely did that. Sorry dudes. It does work though.

I also learned why I got so many comments on my watch or the random comment on my not wearing any jewelery.


Posted by: hydrobatidae | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 11:58 AM
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We're always told that the woman who has no interest in us will indicate that by not showing any interest in talking to us. A woman who wants to talk to us at great length about anything, even if it is nothing but arguing and contradiction, seems quite likely to be someone who has interest in us.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 12:00 PM
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Yeah, it totally works. I used to know a guy who was naturally really good at a particular kind of flirting (the kind that makes people call you an asshole), and when I first read about PUA tactics, it described him to a T.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 12:05 PM
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PUA2AT


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 12:07 PM
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95: Yeah, sad but true. Sometimes I just like talking to people though!


Posted by: hydrobatidae | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 12:20 PM
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Sadly, not even engineering is immune to the unjustifiably certain interlocutor. Some people claim to be certain they've invented perpetual motion machines, for instance. (Why are they not building them? Dunno.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 12:54 PM
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Kobe!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 12:57 PM
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Some people claim to be certain they've invented perpetual motion machines, for instance. (Why are they not building them? Dunno.

I'M THE IDEA MAN

COMING UP WITH THE TEN-TON SPHERE OF MOLTEN PLATINUM, THAT'S YOUR JOB


Posted by: OPINIONATED GRANDMA | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 12:59 PM
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100: You seem very certain of that.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 12:59 PM
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102: I have some areas of special expertise.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 1:33 PM
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59

... I'm also having bad dreams about driving in a car with one of the attorneys I supervise and having him drive into a gas pump (okay, just one of those bad dreams, but it was enough).

I take it you don't have total confidence in this guy.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 4:26 PM
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Looks like. I almost get offended when I have a dream pulling out really obvious symbolism like that. (I should say, in his defense, or in defense of my opinion of him, or something, that the gas pump did not explode.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 4:41 PM
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And he's not terrible. Just a little green, and I think a little overconfident in terms of estimating how green he is.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 4:43 PM
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But is he abrasive?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 5:25 PM
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Comet® cleaner is both green and abrasive. Is it possible he's actually a can of Comet?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 5:36 PM
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Probably, by Texas standards, but it's hard for me to tell that sort of thing. I'm an NYC litigator, and there's not much point asking fish if it's wet out.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 5:37 PM
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I don't usually have nearly as much to say about movies as I do about books. I think I just have more critical distance when reading. At movies I just get sucked into the flashing images unless the movie really sucks.


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 5:37 PM
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just just sucks sucked


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 5:38 PM
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Is it possible he's actually a can of Comet?

Or an actual comet?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 5:41 PM
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I still can't figure out what the abrasive, ball-buster type is: a contrarian isn't necessarily abrasive. A ball-buster I just think of as bitchy (there was an upstairs neighbor at the bookshop who, several times a week, let loose on her boyfriend with some kind of completely bitchy-sounding tirade, and one felt really badly for the boyfriend, as it sounded like emotional abuse). I'm afraid we came to refer to her as "a real piece of work" -- which is quite rude, I realize.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 5:43 PM
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109 is excellent.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 6:28 PM
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105: the gas pump did not explode.

Maybe he masturbated a lot as a child.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 6:49 PM
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the guy would just say something like, "I don't really like talking about the movies I just saw."

I require a grace period after walking out of a movie before discussing it. The transit to the bar or restaurant usually suffices. But when people launch into "what did you think?" the minute we walk into the lobby, it is like being woken too soon from a dream, and leaves me with nothing to say, and sad.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 6:50 PM
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Hm, I guess if a comet hit a gas pump it would probably explode.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 6:52 PM
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116: I think everybody else was talking about not-porn movies.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 6:55 PM
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Wait, there are not-porn movies?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 6:58 PM
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I like to refine the idiom from time to time.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 6:59 PM
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If you masturbate enough as a kid all movies become porn.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 7:00 PM
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"Sorry it took me so long to discuss the movie..."


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-26-12 8:05 PM
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51: Ugh, try being in my field. All of these people, with their thoughts about politics. After the first class I taught at my fave SLAC across the river from Natilo's town, I informed my students that they would never be able to talk global politics with their parents again.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 06-27-12 3:26 PM
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123: At least their thoughts are more or less about politics. Philosophy suffers, yea verily does it suffer, from people who 'have a philosophy'. I blame the bookstores that shelve Richard Bach in the philosophy section.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-27-12 4:11 PM
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1.) I am in the position of hiring lawyers, because, after having done a lot of research I realize that there are too many pitfalls in doing a Medicaid application for people over 65 with a small trust if you are not a professional. One of my questions got different answers from the partner at different times. Then the associate sent me an e-mail with the opposite information. Umm, you guys are the experts, but one of those answers makes no sense to me, and they can't both be right. The partner comes very highly recommended, but it's interpersonally challenging especially since they're at the mud period between "This is included in your consultation fee" and "we're quoting you a flat fee.". I don't like paying to have people spend a lot of time miscommunicating about a fairly simple question.

2.) At what point do you tell someone who is in your home that you find their comments racist and offensive and you're just not willing to tolerate it, that if they want to say things like that they can leave?

2.).


Posted by: Bostoniangirlbosto | Link to this comment | 06-27-12 4:25 PM
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125: I don't like paying to have people spend a lot of time miscommunicating about a fairly simple question.

I think you have to tell them that. It's not easy, I know. I suggest writing drafts of your communication to them -- I myself have a hard time yelling at people whose help I need.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-27-12 5:44 PM
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92: Please explain.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 10:34 AM
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See?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-28-12 10:43 AM
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128:

I meant telling me in sufficient detail that it actually enables me to become better, of course.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 06-29-12 5:19 AM
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But I suppose that's not what I said.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 06-29-12 5:20 AM
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Thanks for the argument.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 06-29-12 12:15 PM
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That wasn'tt an argument.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-29-12 12:35 PM
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