47

I think the problem here could be that by acting disinterested about those family members, your mother feels like you are also acting disinterested about her feelings. My mother does the exact same thing. I do in general also not really care about a large part of my family members. But the thing is that she does care. When something troublesome is happening ...


33

I've done the same "mistake" lots of time in the past, and often got the same results as you. Then I realized my blunder: I had forgotten to present the remark as just that (a simple remark that should lead to an improvement for us), and not a "personal attack". FWIW: I believe some people react like that because they feel like we said: &...


26

TL;DR: Your relationship with these friends seems to have degraded, and the topics you want to discuss with them (environment, human rights) seem too heavy for the type of relationship you seem to be having with them at the moment. Encouraging more than small talk as such is going to be extremely hard, if not impossible. When we were in school, we used to ...


23

I have, myself, several mental health issues (anxiety, depression and some other stuff). For me, talking about certain things can be really difficult and, like your friend, I will need to rest after doing so. What I have found helps is to not talk but to write instead. Whenever I have something "delicate" to say, I do not talk. Instead, I write and ...


22

I've been the "old member" of the team for a while and most likely will be for what's left of my career. Although that hasn't consisted of exclusion, there are usually a lot of "old" jokes and references to watching TV in black and white, how all we had was rocks growing up, dinosaurs, computers using punch cards, discovering fire, etc. ...


18

The idea that you can fake reasonably complex emotional responses with a kind of formula is illogical. Your mother, and probably no-one else, has probably never been fooled by your script, but this time got fed up and decided to press you on it. Is there anyone you are genuinely interested in? How would such a conversation go in this case? What kind of ...


15

While I like the answers already posted, I think there is yet another angle to identify sentences that could be problematic. You had initial struggle with a problem, you find yourself a strategy to face it that is to get rid of the shoes. Since you can't take this decision alone, there, you consult your wife, which is reasonable. If she doesn't react well I ...


13

To me, there's a difference between disliking a thing in general, and disliking a thing because of a particular aspect of it. It takes some time to recognize, but usually I can focus on the particular aspect of something I dislike. So, when I make remarks about things I dislike, I talk about the particular aspect I dislike instead of saying I dislike the ...


12

How can I convince my sister's husband to switch to boxer shorts? You can't. This is way too personal for you to be involved in. Between this being about underwear, and about it being a treatment for a potential medical problem, which is in turn about his family life...you can't get involved. This is not your problem to fix, do not even try. It's between ...


12

Stop explaining, start saying If you want to end a discussion, that someone else wants to continue, you have to end it. There is a big difference between saying This doesn't work, because ... and This doesn't work. Everytime you present something after the because it is an argument, and something that can be attacked. You are presenting a conclusion, and ...


12

Stop trying to negate what the other person says. If your ultimate goal is to avoid an argument, disagreeing with someone belligerent is not going to work. When their opinion is "attacked", their goal is to defend themselves. To give more information, or, if they don't have any, to repeat themselves with different words so that maybe you'll ...


11

It sounds like you've already tried what would have been my first suggestion - stand your ground - and it didn't go so well. A valiant effort! I'll refer to the back-and-forth "you answer first", "no you answer first" exchange as "the ping pong game" in the suggestions below. Two background observations and then some possible ...


11

There is a lot to what exactly you tell people. Even the plain truth will be seen as bragging by many (including me). Just as an example, compare these two answers to "What did you do yesterday?" Well, I hopped into my Porsche convertible and went to this new place called FancyBurgers. They are a little spendy, but their Burgers are great. Pure ...


11

Sadly my girlfriend was neglected as a child so she really doesn't know how to show affection with children Sadly, I think you said it all, and have many clues to understand the problem. I know that answers need backup, but I can't disclose much on this one due to some people's privacy and intimacy. FWIW, having known some similar situation, it helped me ...


9

While you live in India, if what this article about parent-child relationships in India states about parents not wanting to stop treating their kids as kids, even when they're 20 or 30 years old, is true, I think my advice could suit the cultural context, even though I'm Dutch. I'm a Dutch adult still living with my parents, and while I'm not perfect at ...


8

The first thing you need to realise is what you're working against. You are claiming you have a groundbreaking new theory that goes against a lot of established knowledge in a field where you have no formal academic qualifications. Regardless of the validity of your idea, that puts you in the same camp as all "science cranks" who claim to have ...


8

Two approaches: First, expanding on Scoots' approach of gently deflecting with humo(u)r, and taking note of your comment about how you drew a blank when the question came, the key is to have your answer lined up ahead of time so you are not caught off guard next time. It's much more effective to immediately fire off a witty response than to fumble for one. ...


8

This will not be a fun conversation. Possibly the worst thing you can do tomorrow during lunch is to first lead him on with small talk ("Yeah, I too am really excited for starting the PhD"). I've had conversations like this with parents regarding dropping out of uni and with student councillors about said dropping out. It's not fun. The thing that ...


8

... in an office environment or while talking to friends ... I think you have 2 very different settings and backgrounds here. I never had a problem with family, friends and acquaintances, but I had to train and train (and repeat) again when I had to talk to people in an office or giving a presentation. That's why I'll focus on the professional part. And ...


7

This is a VERY delicate situation. Under normal circumstances, what kind of underwear a person wears is absolutely none of anyone's business. You wouldn't take a coworker aside and tell them their underwear was too sexy for the office, for example. I am sure that before this you had absolutely no idea what kind of underwear your brother in law wore, and that ...


6

Most likely, these young people are trying to impress you. Maybe they are feeling intimidated by your status (of being an American or a European). (We, Indians, subconsciously (and at times consciously) feel that Americans or Europeans or Australians are better than us.) So, maybe these young people are trying to tell you that they too have quality and that ...


6

I once sold a rather expensive item to a friend. The item's new price was more than 1000€ and it went used for just under 1000€ on Ebay. We agreed to a price slightly (50€) below the Ebay price. At the time I suggested the price. I chose a price that left me no better nor worse off, regardless if my friend agreed to the deal. As such I could communicate ...


6

I use the following technique in a bouldering gym where I used to go. I approach to someone and I ask them "Hi, I see you easily climb that wall, will you show me how do you climb this route?". Always they make a comment about climbing and then they climb the route I asked them. After that I make a flattering comment and ask their names while ...


6

Framing is used to have others think in a certain way about a problem. Winning the argument by assuming you already won. A classic example of framing outside politics is found in parenting smaller children. (Not "do you want to put on your shoes?" but "which shoe do you want to put on first?" - Don't leave a doubt that they will put on ...


6

This is difficult, for sure. Almost anything that is good in your life can be seen as bragging, especially if someone is already feeling jealous of you or feeling that you are showing off regularly. But look at this spectrum: Everyone should find time to read and a few hundred dollars here and there for books. 10 a month is a reasonable target. I read 10 ...


6

Some people find talking in social situations much easier and can seemingly break into a group straight away, but that isn't always a good thing. Most social groups build up gradually and organically over time, and people don't instantly break into them as easily as you might think. When you see someone loudly and confidently breaking into a new social group,...


6

This is going to be hard, especially if it really is dementia. The lashing out and aggressiveness are then likely symptoms of it, and if they have been going on for a couple of years already, this might mean your friend is already gone. A relative of mine has dementia, and there's nothing left. You can pretend to be the nicest person in the world, all you'll ...


5

The most effective way I've found to get an opinion out if someone who is hesitant to give it is to ask them specific questions in a narrow scope. Consider the difference between What did you think of the book? And I wasn't quite sure what to think of the character Maria. Sometimes she seems like a villain, but other times I felt bad for her. What do you ...


5

First, a small frame challenge. You can move together even if you're not married. Just as you can get a job in that other country, so can she. It could be a fun adventure together in which you both work on the project of finding the appropriate pair of jobs, and a place to live. Of course, this would also move you quite a long way along the living together / ...


5

The best way to end an argument is to just stop arguing. If you keep disagreeing with them, you are keeping the argument going. Instead I would recommend just giving some half-hearted agreement or at least conceding that they make a reasonable argument. There are many ways to do this, such as by saying: Okay. Maybe. I guess. Fair enough. I'm not sure. I don'...


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