I have a friend who I got to know through playing video games. I've known him for about 7 years now and have met him in person about 14 times.

We've been actively playing together for 4 years and every time when we have a discussion he just comes up with random things not having anything to do with the subject or just a wrong answer. Whenever I or one of our other friends tell him that what he said doesn't make sense he goes into protection mode and keeps saying that it is right.

Usually we play with other friends (one being his cousin and one being a good friend of myself) who also agree with me. His cousin doesn't even go into discussion with him anymore because of his preset mindset.

It doesn't just stop there, whenever we are playing a game and he comes online he just starts talking while me and my friends are just concentrated on the game. When one of us starts getting frustrated and telling him to not talk anymore he just starts with saying that it is very easy to blame it on other people.

Last week he started a course he bought online about e-commerce. I told him that he didn't need a course for that but just needed to do a little research himself. He answered that I shouldn't be jealous and that we will see in a few months when he will earn more money than me.

In general he is nice but whenever conversations like these come up it just annoys me and my friends. I really don't know what to do with a person like this and it is setting me in a somewhat irritated mood when playing online.

How can I get him to understand that he is not always right without hurting our friendship

  • Hi Niickles, welcome to IPS! I know it can be tough to deal with a person like this, but I think we're going to need a little more information to be able to properly help you. Right now your question is a liitle bit too broad for our site. Do you have a specific goal in mind such as getting him to stop? – Rainbacon Mar 29 '19 at 13:58
  • 1
    The main goal is for us to have a better friendship and for him to understand he is not always right – Niickles Mar 29 '19 at 14:13
  • Can you tell us if your interactions with him take place primarily through text chat or voice chat? – Rainbacon Mar 29 '19 at 14:20
  • We primarily use teamspeak but on whatsapp he behaves the same – Niickles Mar 29 '19 at 14:38

Wow, what a multi-layered question. It sounds like your friend is annoying you. The key to salvaging this friendship is by setting boundaries, adjusting your conversational approach, and maybe evaluating whether this is a friendship worth saving.

First of all: if your friend can't respect your boundaries, then your friendship with him will be unsatisfying. It's good to set them beforehand if you can, to explain why you're setting it, and to do it with kindness. "Hey, can you try to avoid talking during the game? I can't focus when you're talking. We can talk after the round is over." And then remind him to stop talking while you're playing. "Dude, stop it. Seriously. I can't focus." "I already told you to stop." The nuclear option: "I keep telling you that I can't talk right now, seriously, why do you keep interrupting me?" If he's not getting the message, then why do you want to salvage this friendship?

From your post, it sounds like this friend is very defensive. If you want him to feel less defensive, it's worth examining your own behavior to see whether you're attacking him. For example, in the case of your friend buying an e-commerce course, that is a personal choice that he made. It doesn't affect you. He spent his own money because he was willing to pay for it. All you can do is ask him why he made that choice, and then let it go.

If your friend doesn't say things that make sense in a conversation/debate, it's important to figure out why they don't make sense. Is he not listening? Then you can address that with him. Is he trying to express something that he's not able to frame articulately in conversation? That's a more likely explanation.

In my experience, when you don't agree with someone, it's best to ask them questions, instead of contradicting them. For example, ask your friend sincerely and without hostility: "wait, what did you mean by that? I'm sorry, I don't understand how that connects with [topic we're discussing]." Keep asking questions until you do understand. One really effective method is to paraphrase what he said to you, to make sure that you understood. This also shows him that you're listening to what he's saying, which can help a defensive person feel welcomed into the conversation.

If you really disagree with him, questions are also the way to go. Start with open ended questions that don't have yes or no as an answer. For example, "why do you think that?" "how would that work?" Once you understand where he's coming from, then maybe you'll want to inject your opinions into the conversation more, but still asking questions. For example, "I hear you, but have you considered that . . . ?"

If he's just trying to contradict you, and doesn't care about what you're saying, then again, I don't really understand why you want to deepen your friendship with him, and it's probably best not to get in debates with him.

  • Hey Karen, thanks for your anwser. I think asking is actually the way to go as it usually calms him down so he can explain his answer. – Niickles Mar 29 '19 at 17:56

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