We’ve all got that mate, that person in the group who, for whatever reason, wakes up some mornings and decides that today is the day he’s going to piss everyone off. You can imagine him, standing in front of the mirror, psyching himself up, ready to meet his boys down the pub, and, for no particular reason he is set on inflicting an act of epic mind-terrorism upon them.
In my group I am that friend.
I can’t help it, I was kind of born that way – it’s fun.
For us guys it’s part of the course to verbally beat each other, sometimes we do it physically too, but once you’re over the age of 25, eyes hurt when they are socked, bones creek when you have to get off the floor and generally the whole idea of fighting starts to feel more and more like work. Once you get half-way through your 30s, well, just going out can be a struggle.
But, as sure as **** no matter how old you get, the battle never ends and as a man we must sometimes step up and match an opponent. It’s a matter of pride, a matter of our very masculinity, where fists no longer fly, words must, and nowhere is this more prominent than in the natural habitat of all football discussions – the Great British Public House. The final arena for the gladiatorial wordsmiths of our age.
Forget ‘speakers corner’ forget the musings of Socrates or the strategies of Churchill – it is on the field of booze we truly ride, where truths are really told and where men can lose their way and sink back into the world of boyhood.
And it is because of this that today, as a certified hypnotist, hypnotherapist and NLP practitioner, I shall give you five tricks of the mind, five devastating techniques of word trickery and psychology that will help you to defuse any argument and to bring peace where once there was war, beer where there was once cursing and right to what must be wronged.
To avoid emotional conflict all examples are approached as an England fan. This avoids club-to-club loyalties and, seeing as England are so incredibly… Well, lets say they aren’t easy to defend, it makes it easier to show the full effectiveness of these methods.
5. REMAIN CALM: This cannot be understood enough. The true power in debate or argument comes with being calm. As you feel your primal need to flatten someone raise within your chest, take a deep breath and remember the first rule… For these reasons –
BEING VERY, VERY CALM IS VERY, VERY ANNOYING and this is great fun. If you use this in any conflict you will notice an instant difference in yourself – however for the sake of that ‘guy’ who is winding you up, you can even smile the whole time.
Now, be warned, this can solicit undesired threats of violence towards you, I suggest you try this with someone you know first, learn to gauge reaction, apart from anything else, it can be really aggravating to the other person, but this works on another level too, because as they get annoyed and notice your reaction they will lose focus and some will even break there-and-then.
Think back to when your Dad or Mum just stared you out – ended a moment with a look. Think of how your girlfriend can cause your balls to migrate by simply mounting the energy of the universe into a terrifying look. Calmness is key.
4. AGREE: Oh, this is big. The one thing most people don’t understand (other than advertisers, politicians and the royal family, oh and of course Derren Brown) is that most of our communication takes place ‘sub-consciously’ so it matters not what you say, because most of that stuff comes from a conscious place, so, when someone is in full rant and you disagree, the first thing you must do is get them to agree with you or to agree with them.
This simply trick bypasses the conscious mind and causes them to feel on a deeper level that you are on their side, suddenly they will open up to more suggestions, to more ideas and will even want to agree in return.
Two quick ways to do this are:
State the obvious. Say things such as’ ‘It’s hot in here.’ When they agree, say, ‘and noisy, there are lots of people.’ They will agree. This means that subconsciously they are already seeing you as a comrade and side with you.
If they are already ranting, simply pull out any random comments and agree with them – even if you don’t.
Him: England never perform, they always crumble on the big game, it’s like they raise their game but they can’t be clinical and finish it. We get excited when they win against these small teams and then, we play someone better and it all goes back to normal again…’
YOU: We do get excited when England play small teams, it does seem to get back to normal when we play someone better, I totally agree with you.
3. THE TWIST: So, moving on from the gaining of trust and agreement, you can now take those phrases and start to change their point view. You do this by avoiding words such as ‘but’ (as this creates a break in thought pattern, we expect to hear the word ‘but’ when in conflict or asking for something) and instead use words such as ‘and/ or/ because.’
So, take two statements you agree with such as above and then tag your opinion onto the end.
We do get excited when England play small teams, it does seem to get back to normal when we play someone better, and that is why we need to start supporting the youth teams more.
We do get excited when England play small teams, it does seem to get back to normal when we play someone better, that is why we should start discussing our tactics.
We do get excited when England play small teams, it does seem to get back to normal when we play someone better, and that could be because the press harass the team more.
2. GENERALIZATIONS: You can literally drive someone mad with this, seriously, you have complete permission to do so.
The idea here is to LISTEN genuinely to what they are saying, and to pick out when they are being general and ask them to be more specific. This is the idea of having facts to back up an argument, and the beauty of this is that you don’t need any facts to counter the argument, because they won’t have any either.
So, anytime someone uses words such as… Everyone/ always/ nobody/ every/ all, you can reply by asking them to be more specific.
Everyone on the England squad is useless.
This can be pulled apart from so many angles, whether it is true or not! Firstly, Question what ‘everyone’ means. This will break their rant and cause them to specify. Like a politician caught on live TV being asked to explain their expenses, they will most likely squirm and try to continue generalizing, all you need to do is keep asking, can you specify what you mean by… And the generalization.
If they get a bit shirty, simply explain that you are trying to understand what they mean so that you can truly consider their opinion. This is a silencer on the gun.
1. CHANGE THE SUBJECT: Have you ever found yourself in an arguments with your girlfriend about something trivial, like them leaving the toilet seat down, and then, three days later realized that you are still arguing; but now it’s about the time you stepped on her foot, when you were pissed at her cousin’s dog’s wake.
Welcome to the greatest trick there is. If you ever find yourself losing, either because you don’t actually know what you are talking about, or, because the other person is right, you can always shift the conversation to where you want it to be. All you need to do is, like previously, agree with a couple statements and then use the ‘pivot’ words ‘and/ because…’ and then lead the sentence in another direction.
If you want to be really sneaky, move it to something you know they will agree with, this will create the feeling in them that you have changed their moods somehow.
We do get excited when England play small teams, it does seem to get back to normal when we play someone better, and that’s because our fans feel so passionately about the success of the team, and in many ways the country – that’s a good thing.
We do get excited when England play small teams, it does seem to get back to normal when we play someone better, and personally I blame the government. They are out of control right now.. Did you hear about….
So, there you go.
Use these tools and use them wisely, for those who do not know these ways will bend to your will as if by magic. Try them out, especially on your mates and let me know how it goes.
Until next time.