We have all at some point in our lives found ourselves face to face with someone we hate during a meal, a class, a meeting or other. But how do you keep your cool and still be able to communicate while always having the advantage? A former American journalist tells you everything!
The Capital.fr site had already published an article entitled How do you work with someone you hate? but here, it is a question of understanding how it is possible to communicate with someone whom one simply hates.
To answer this rather common problem, Vice News recently interviewed Jay Heinrichs, an American journalist who has embarked on the study of rhetoric, linguistics (modern and ancient) as well as neurosciences after 25 years of career . Author of several books, the interested party sells his talents to clients as a coach would.
Jay Heinrichs describes a lived experience, where the latter used his talents to « overcome » an odious character, the brother-in-law of a friend with whom he was to have lunch. The man was an adviser for a private prison company that made its fortune from contracts with the US government to protect the border with Mexico and apprehend illegal immigrants. Jay Heinrichs had identified him as being a supporter of Donald Trump, anti-Obama and misogynist moreover.
Jay Heinrichs is a past master in the art of rhetoric, namely the art of persuading through eloquence mastered in particular by a certain Nelson Mandela. The latter has organized these techniques into several tools: the objective, the audience, the interest you show in your interlocutor, sympathy and love.
“The first thing to do when you come face to face with a moron is to ask yourself what you want to get out of it,” believes the person concerned.
Humiliating him or getting into open conflict with your interlocutor can be a source of tension with other people you like. Jay therefore chose gentleness and tried to learn something from the individual by questioning him about American prisons.
“Don’t think about beating your opponent. Rather, think of a victory over all the people around who are listening to you. »
It’s about not coming across as the more belligerent of the two, but rather appearing to be a better person. While the individual bragged about how much money he had amassed fighting Mexican illegals, Jay simply didn’t pick up on it and continued to show interest.
“So I started asking him questions, getting interested in definitions, in details. »
The individual told Jay that » Mexicans never really become Americans » and that immigrant women wanted « just bigger allowances « . Jay asked him for details on his definitions of terms « Mexicans » and “allowances” while asking him if his girlfriend was working.
People asked about the meaning of their own words tend to soften their speech, it was then that the man admitted that many Mexicans were well integrated into American society and corrected the term » allocation « by “family budget”. Jay was also interested in the number of Mexican inmates in prisons and a possible increase, but the man admitted that fewer and fewer of them were ending up incarcerated, proof that Mexicans do not « do not swarm along the border » as is commonly heard.
Questioning the individual on precise definitions and asking for details seems to be an unstoppable weapon since the person will often come back on his remarks to modify them. Here, the man had become eager to finish the meal, a meal he even offered to Jay.
Destabilizing a person you hate by being cordial, interested in his words and using rhetorical weapons is still daring. This art may not be within everyone’s reach, but whatever the case, never use violence and nervousness, so as not to discredit yourself.
Sources: Vice News – Le Monde