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In my recent post about bad personality traits, reader Littlepo mentioned The Contradictor. That's the person who disagrees with everything you say, no matter what you say. I used to find that trait maddening until I took a hypnosis class. My hypnosis teacher taught us how to control that type of personality like a puppet. I couldn't believe how effective it was until I saw it in action.

At the time, I was working for the phone company, and a big part of my job was figuring out which new features we should add to our services. This process had one gatekeeper individual who was in charge of deciding where the technical resources would be allocated. His response to all requests was invariably "That can't be done." It didn't matter what the question was. The answer was always no. In time, I realized he was simply a Contradictor. If I said the sky is blue, he'd say color is just an interpretation that happens inside your head. He was genetically incapable of agreeing with anything.

And that was his weakness.

After my tenth unsuccessful encounter with the Contradictor, I started phrasing my requests for his help as statements of impossibility. For example, if I wanted him to implement feature X, I might say, "The market research says people want X, but obviously that would be too expensive to implement, if not completely impossible. So just give me the official ‘no' and I can close the loop on this awful, awful, AWFUL idea."

At this point the Contradictor's need to prove me wrong would spring into overdrive. And feature X would become a reality. Since then I have used the method a number of times to great effect.

The trick is to make sure you don't overdo it. Keep The Contradictor primed by feeding him a steady stream of unimportant topics to disagree with. That makes it easier to get the result you want on the important ones.

You'll be amazed at how well this works.
 
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-4 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 14, 2009
funny how everyone seems to know a contradictor. in reality you can't stereotype someone as a contradictor or not. people agree sometimes and disagree on other occasions.
 
 
Sep 13, 2009
My old boss was a contradictor. I needed another worker to finish a project and knew that if I asked him to hire one he would say no. So I went to him and told him he was right when he told me a while back that I would never be able to finish the project with my current crew. Although he never had told me , he said I should have listened to him in the first place and then told me to hire someone.
 
 
Sep 13, 2009
Is this how you forced ISDN on the general public?
 
 
Sep 13, 2009
I use this same idea to convince Murphy's law to work in my favor.
 
 
Sep 13, 2009
I'm never not happy when I stop by your blog.
 
 
Sep 13, 2009
Hope no contradictor is reading this blog...they may get smarter...But I think there behaviour is so compulsive that they can't help being a contradictor even by trying...
 
 
Sep 12, 2009
First of all, I'm very excited that you noticed my comment! Second, true confessions: I live with a couple of Contradictors. When my 16-year-old was a baby we essentially tried your technique: we said to her, "Can you say no?" She was dumbfounded. If she said no, she was doing what we wanted. What a conundrum! That worked until she was around 4 or 5 and by then she got smart enough to just ignore us.

Still working on my husband.
 
 
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 12, 2009
Morons:If you try to influence
them, you give them control over you. I've driven myself crazy trying to fix people I know cannot
be fixed, and don't want to be fixed. Now, I refuse to do that. It's more fun if I just find them entertaining."
 
 
Sep 11, 2009
(I have a doctor studying for her PhD in hypnotherapy.) I find it entertaining to verbally spar with people who think that they're always right and want to prove other people wrong. Let's me see to what extreme they will take their arrogance. "If it can be imagined, then it can be done." Great words to live by.
 
 
Sep 11, 2009


webgrunt
"This is completely off-topic, but I wonder what would happen if the yearly interest on the national debt ever exceeded the federal government's yearly revenues. I haven't looked up the stats, though I'm pretty sure that's not likely to happen anytime soon--however, if it ever did happen, what would be the result?"
---------------------------------

Written below is something I had noted in 1999.
Don't know the current situation (can't be much better), but nothing seems to have happened to India so far.
But as they say, "If you jump out of a window on the 42nd floor, just because you’re still doing fine at the 20th floor doesn’t mean you don’t have a serious problem."

*
India Fiscal problem - 1998-99 (1 cr = 10 million)

Debt Repayments Rs 1,00,000 cr
Interest Payments Rs 75,000 cr
Total Rs 1,75,000 cr

Total Receipts Rs 1,61,000 cr

This year's deficit Rs 14,000 cr
Last year Rs 9,000 cr

India already in debt trap

*
 
 
Sep 11, 2009
"You'll be amazed at how well this works."
No I won't.
 
 
-2 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 11, 2009
webgrunt
"This is completely off-topic, but I wonder what would happen if the yearly interest on the national debt ever exceeded the federal government's yearly revenues. I haven't looked up the stats, though I'm pretty sure that's not likely to happen anytime soon--however, if it ever did happen, what would be the result?"

I know that imidiatly before the french revolution the government spend 50 % of it's annual income paying interest. This was an important reason why the revolution caused a pan european war- most nations (read creditors) disagreed with the frech republics right not to pay the kings debt. I assume that should this ever happen the result would be rebellion and a refusal to service your debt. Going backrupt as a nation is less painfull than as an individual, as it is no longer legal for the creditors to seize you country- I believe Denmark went bust twice in the early 1800s without being seized by the creditors.
 
 
+4 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 11, 2009
A suggestion for those married to a contradictor: Don't play games. Tell him/her straight to knock it off and mean it. Scott's technique is great for co-workers. Long-term relationships need a more direct approach.

My mother was/is a gifted contradictor. She literally had me doubting my own existence as a teenager. Naturally, I married one as well. When I realized what I had done, I decided I would not live the rest of my life like that. Games only manage the problem - and that isn't good enough for a lifetime. Now when he does that to me, I stop, glare at him until he gets a bit uncomfortable and tell him to knock it off. If he doesn't, I leave the room or refuse to engage with in until he stops. It took a few years and he still slips - but for the most part - he has stopped.
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 11, 2009
I'm a bit of a contradictor, When most people talk to you, they aren't really asking for YOUR opinion. Much of the time, they're just asking for some sort of acceptance, vindication, agreement, etc. This is especially true of the worst politically biased people. They'll ask a political question and get PISSED if you disagree. (For you brits, pissed does not mean drunk in this context). People don't really want your opinion, they just want to know that you see things their way, or at least you're willing to bow to their point of view. If I'm in the company of people that I agree with, then I try to be devil's advocate in an attempt to prevent an opinionated circle jerk from occurring (see Bill Maher's show for what that looks like). I hate it when a bunch of people get together just to agree with eachother and reinforce their own opinions until they believe them to be "facts" or "common knowledge," so that if you disagree, well then you're just nuts.
 
 
Sep 11, 2009
think I posted this in response to another topic before but we have a selective contradictor - that is, they knee-jerk contract based on WHO is making the statement/asking the question. when certain people say something they're automatically wrong, no matter what - same idea/question from different people at least get evaluated on merit. there's one person in particular w/whom I've joked if the building ever caught fire and this person pulled the alarm the contradictor would stay & burn to death on principle (& I'm not sure that's hyperbole!)...
 
 
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 11, 2009
That would never work.
 
 
Sep 11, 2009
my boss is one such person, and i have been doing this for a long time now.
anytime a boring project comes up, i immediately go upto him and say, "let me do it". It works, always!
thats the best way to avoid any work i do not want to do.

only problem is, there is no good way to ask for a leave to such a person. Maybe you can help me here?
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 11, 2009
What if you recognize that you are a Contradictor and you're into affirmations?
"I, Rambis, will continue to be a Contradictor."
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 11, 2009
I have a friend who is a certain strain of contradictor, but the thing is they don't just disagree with people's statements. They're very calculating in order to say the most painful thing to the interlocutor. They're all to happy to agree with you if you're beating yourself up.
 
 
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 11, 2009
Haha. I had a very similiar experience with a colleague but instead of saying a task "can't be done" he would rail on and on about how busy he was with other tasks and what a low priority any new task was in the pipeline.

Anytime I needed something done quickly, I started prefacing the request with, "This probably isn't possible but..." or "I imagine this would take forever but..." He would jump right on top of those to show me how quickly he could do something I thought was challenging.

Worked great, but you're right, you have to throw them some decoys so they don't catch on.
(And I have to hope he doesn't read this Blog)
 
 
 
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