Down with the Goat-getters

When I’m conducting sessions on effective communication skills, people frequently ask me what to do when THAT person, makes one of THOSE disparaging remarks, yet again.  You know the kind. Where it is such a blatant insult that all you want to do is say something like, “Excuse me? Who are YOU to talk?” or, “Hey didn’t your mother teach you any manners? (you bozo!)”

Well, if you want to defuse a potential problem REAL fast, why not take a totally different approach. When a bully makes a statement that usually causes an argument, instead of trying to reason with them, why not do what Dr. Jane Bluestein suggests.  When they throw you the antagonist ball – do NOT throw it back.  Here are some examples:

Him:  “You are so sloppy.”
You:  “You might be right.”

Her: “Your hairdresser gave you an AWFUL haircut!”
You:  “You could be very right about that.”

Him:  “You have gotten so fat!”
You:  “Ain’t it the truth?”

Remember, a bully feels powerful when he causes an angry, defensive or hurt reaction in you.  Sometimes you simply have to make the choice not to give them one.

In the words of someone (oh how I wish I knew where I heard this), “If you don’t want someone to get your goat – stop telling them where you keep it tied up.”

From your very own personal motivational speaker, Linda Larsen

P.S.  If you know where that quote came from, I’d love to know so I can credit them!


Motivational Speaker Linda Larsen, CSP has been described by meeting planners and audiences as "hysterically funny," and "riveting." Known for her ability to connect on an authentic and emotional level with audiences, her spontaneous sense of humor, and her engaging and powerful stories, Linda is passionate about sharing ideas to help people live their finest, best, and most productive lives. Her riveting and true story of being kidnapped and held hostage at gunpoint by an escaped convict, and the strategies she used to escape, will give people the tools THEY need to rise above any of life's toughest challenges, to communicate more effectively with THEIR difficult person, and to find creative solutions to THEIR problems. To book motivational speaker, Linda Larsen: 941-927-4700

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  1. I LOVE this idea, Linda!  I can only imagine it would work 100% of the time too.  The trick is suppressing my knee jerk reaction of, “Oh, yea?”  and  not throwing that antagonist ball back at ’em.  Is it weird to say that I look forward to my next insult so I can test this strategy?  Thank you for the non-ammo!

  2. Great post, Linda. The trick is you first need to be comfortable with not being right. For many that is a challenge. I know it was (ok, still is some days with my sweetie) for me. Baaaaa. From the motivational speaker who grew up in the High Need to Be Right Family who is always working on being happy instead.

  3. Linda – this is really great stuff!  If only I could just remember ‘Ain’t that the truth!’  Total diffusion.  Love it love it love it!!!

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