Re: MEMES: Pigeon-holing your opponent

From: Harvey Newstrom (
Date: Thu Jan 25 2001 - 12:52:54 MST

At 12:12 PM -0600 1/25/01, Barbara Lamar wrote:
>At 11:38 PM 01/24/2001, Samantha Atkins wrote:
>>Harvey Newstrom wrote:
>> > Let me know if anybody has any insights on this problem or knows a
>> > way out of it.
>>Have us all recite 10 times on arising "Others are not as stupid as I
>>may first be inclined to believe and there beliefs are not so simple as
>>I might think?"
>I like this one. :-D
>Then there's the technique described in a book that was required
>reading for a long-ago friend of mine when he got a job selling
>Encyclopedia Britannica. The title of the book was *The Art of
>Manipulation*; the author claimed it was a condensation of teachings
>he'd received from a seasoned con artist. When you must disagree
>with someone, he says, preface your statement with: "Nine times
>outta ten I'd agree with you. And, really, I agree with you now. But
>there's just one thing..." My friends and I used it among
>ourselves, and it worked very well. We'd end up laughing at the
>preface, and the laughter would forestall any hard feelings about
>the disagreement.

Good suggestion. It is true that we have a tendency to gloss over
the parts we find agreeable and jump straight to the disagreements.
That is because there is not much that needs to be said when we
agree. We don't want to quote every single point and respond with a
"Me too!" agreement. We actually are being efficient by doing this.
The down-side is that we only respond with negatives. Unlike
face-to-face conversation where we would nod our head and show
agreement without interrupting the conversation, the online
discussion forum leaves a big void of nothingness where all this
agreement occurs. The only thing that is transmitted and can be
verified is the points of contention.

I think confirming all the points of agreement first, and then
pointing out a smaller area of disagreement later, is an excellent

Harvey Newstrom <>

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