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Sometimes, I talk with a friend about stuff, and then if at any point I disagree on something, or perhaps correct, or add information to something he said, he tends to become defensive, and responds differently to things.

And rather than letting it go after a while, it tends to linger, and even when we are on a different subject, it seems he thinks I'm still trying to prove something from previously, while I want to move on and have a neutral conversation.

It goes something like this:

Me: I don't think x is that, because y
Friend: I thinks it's because z
Me: Yeah, z or y, whatever
Friend: No, really, I think z
Me: Yeah, that's a possibility
...later...
Me: I think x is [blablabla, different subject]
Friend: Yeah I don't know, I don't think y is involved
Me: (thinking I did not even mention y?)
Me: No... that's not the point I was making (is he even listening or still trying to prove he was right about z?)

I have this sometimes with other people too, and my feeling it has a lot to do with ego, and their unwillingness to let it go. Most times it is more apparent through their intonation.

Not sure if I've described the situations clearly enough, but it feels a lot like you are not having a mutual conversation but it turns into a discussion or debate, while I just want to talk about things and avoid polarization or right/wrong or only 2 possible, opposing answers to every question.

But, what can I do to change or avoid this?

  • 3
    Why not choose a real example? I think it makes a difference if you are talking about a thing at work, a movie, politics... is your friend passionate about the topic? Are you? Why is it not ok if they remember something and want to add that later? To me it currently seems that your approach to the conversation is a bit off because you want to stick to one topic without flexibility? Please explain more. Also, if you are friends and talk about stuff (whatever stuff that may be), why do you shy away from confronting them directly? Be open with friends, if you are not, tell us your reason – Raditz_35 Dec 25 '19 at 15:24
  • How much later is "...later..."? – Onyz Dec 31 '19 at 17:08
  • Some people make arguments personal. It is about who is right, not about what is right. – ctrl-alt-delor Jan 2 at 19:19
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I think how you phrase your responses to their disagreement is quite important. By your example, saying

"Yeah z or y"

Makes it very clear you don't agree with their opinion, and in a way that's likely to make them defensive. If you chose different words like:

"Yeah I guess that's possible" or "Oh yeah, maybe you're right"

It doesn't say that you agree with them but is much less direct. They may interpret it as an agreement and then be happy to move onto another topic. Obviously, if the same subject comes up again and you want to be clearer in your stance, you would have to clarify that maybe you don't agree that it could be "z", but assuming it's just a casual discussion then just adopting a more neutral response should achieve what you want.

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