Bully Punches You in the Mouth

By JoCo June 2, 2005

Here’s a site that offers some techniques for communicating effectively during tense conversations – Quick Verbal Tactics. My favorite example of the technique in action is Scenario #7 The Bully.

Bully: Shoves you and mumbles, “Jerk.”

You: “Why did you say that?” (respect question)

Bully: Shoving you again, he says “Because you’re a jerk.”

You: “I can’t allow you to keep doing that.” (outcome statement)

Bully: “Oh yeah?? What are you going to do about it?”

You: “Whatever you force me to do.” (outcome statement)

Bully: “Wanna fight?!”

You: “I’m not interested in fighting you.” (outcome statement)

Bully: “We’ve got a chicken here!”

You: “Why are you angry with me?” (respect question)

No kidding, this is where it ends. As if it’s RESOLVED. As if the bully is now so wowed by your respect for his feelings, and your stern declarations of outcome that he’s all “Oh forget about it you crazy kid, I love you!” Or this one from Scenario #9 The “Come Here” Jerk:

Them: “Come here.”

You: “Why?” (respect question)

Aha! Gotcha! Didn’t think I was going to ask why you want me to come over there, did you? Well I’m asking, sucker, I’m asking. It’s so great to finally have a good response for “Come Here” jerks like that. Here is Scenario #5 The Manipulative Gossip (I have added the third line myself, for completeness and accuracy):

Gossip: “I’m not saying I do, but some people here think that you’re a suck-up.”

You: “What do you gain by telling me that?” (respect question)

Gossip: “Fuck you, suck-up.”


Sarah says

I just had to read a book called "Non-Violent Communication" for one of my clients for something I'm working on. I feel like a suck-up admitting this, but some of the techniques actually do work.

Although Bruce proved refractory to one of my "When you...I feel..." statements and said, "To tell you the truth, I prefer the nagging."

jpez says

I have a feeling that last Bully question would have been answered with a fist in "Your" mouth.

JoCo says

Sarah, I don't think that makes you a suck-up, I think it just makes you a thoughtful and communicative person. Just kidding! Suck-up! Bruce is right, at least the nagging doesn't force anyone to have any real communication, and then you can just open a beer, drink half of it, and fall asleep on the couch.

Zac says

Looks like the domain lasted all the way until October '05 before it expired. It's now hosted by a cybersquatter.