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bizarre "facts" in conversation
Old 05-20-2016, 06:10 PM   #1
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bizarre "facts" in conversation

I have an acquaintance, nice guy, who peppers his conversation with some very wrong "facts", and I do not know how to respond reasonably, consequently the more outlandish ones become conversation stoppers. Sometimes I would laugh because I figured he was joking, only to realize by his hurt reaction that he was serious.

These "facts" run the gamut from bad science to things one might read in the Weekly World News (does that still exist?). For example, the reason it rains is because the sky and ocean are the same color. Or, "(insert name of a presidential candidate) had a sex change operation years ago". If challenged, he'll often respond, "Oh, yes, it's in the news this week. I saw it at some web site." Changing the subject doesn't work.

Other than avoiding conversation, what are some reasonable and polite ways to respond?
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Old 05-20-2016, 06:15 PM   #2
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how about the old line...."do you always believe what you read"?

Or the new line...."if it is on the internet it must be true".
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Old 05-20-2016, 06:21 PM   #3
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Or the old Red Foreman line..."dumbass!".
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Old 05-20-2016, 06:25 PM   #4
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Just play along and make up stuff as you go.

"Candidate X had a sex change operation"
"Yeah, I heard he was in love with candidate Y"
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Old 05-20-2016, 06:33 PM   #5
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People who go around spouting nonsense need to have their credibility challenged, IMHO. My response would be to look up the facts about one ridiculous claim from several trusted sources and present the information to him. After that, if he continues, I would ignore him.
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Old 05-20-2016, 06:47 PM   #6
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I actually have a friend who is kind of similar to what you described, although not quite so blatantly outlandish. My way of dealing with this is to kind of "gloss over" these preposterous statements when they come up in conversation, maybe pushing back gently but then pivoting the conversation in a more sane direction. This seems to work pretty well for our friendship, since it's lasted for over 20 years now. The key (if you value the friendship and want it to continue, of course) is to not aggressively challenge the person, which obviously will lead to confrontations and a "digging in the heels" on both sides. Just try to steer the conversation strategically when it gets too close to anything that might elicit the more outlandish claims.
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Old 05-20-2016, 06:51 PM   #7
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These "facts" run the gamut from bad science to things one might read in the Weekly World News (does that still exist?). For example, the reason it rains is because the sky and ocean are the same color. Or, "(insert name of a presidential candidate) had a sex change operation years ago". If challenged, he'll often respond, "Oh, yes, it's in the news this week. I saw it at some web site." Changing the subject doesn't work.

Ah.... Is he normal (lives most of the time in fact based reality) otherwise? I am actually intrigued to find out what he is like with his personal life events.
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Old 05-20-2016, 08:01 PM   #8
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Yes, I've tried the "if it's on the internet it must be true" reply and though he understands the gentle humor of my comment, he again acts hurt (and not in a facetious manner) that I would poke fun of the "fact" he related. I've not tried making up absurd stuff to continue the theme he introduced since I suspect again he'd feel hurt, but I can try it to be sure.

He intersperses these amazing "facts" within other regular, normal conversation about sports, news, travel, whatever. I'll be thinking all is fine until he'll blurt out the next one, "They found aliens on Mars yesterday! Yes, for real! Do a web search and you'll see!" When I later search online there will indeed be a fresh news story about Mars, but it will not be about Martians, it will instead mention a scientist's quote like, "If alien microbial life is ever found on Mars it may have been transported there by an asteroid."

Since these "facts" are often recent news stories, it occurs to me now perhaps he has a reading comprehension problem. He's relaying these "facts" in all seriousness. Lately I've just been nodding and saying, "Hmm."
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Old 05-20-2016, 08:17 PM   #9
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Wow - if he's really a friend I think I'd discuss it with him and explains that it bothers you. You can explain it in terms of your feelings of upset. You can use the one about the Martians.

Reading comprehension problem - yeah, don't know how you get around that. But you can still explain the Martian thing as an example. But it may not do any good......

If he really doesn't understand what he's doing.....
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Old 05-20-2016, 08:18 PM   #10
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Ah, he's just "adding a little" to what he reads eh? A lot of people do that.

Ok, I would just go with the flow and ask what the aliens looked like, "Chewbacca or Jabba the Hut"

Lot's of people just like to talk and if they have nothing really exciting to talk about, they "improvise". But it sounds more fun than listening to a litany of aches and pains eh?
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Old 05-20-2016, 08:52 PM   #11
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He may be psychotic. Sure this relationship is a good one?

Ha


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Old 05-20-2016, 08:55 PM   #12
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I'm afraid your friend may be a moron. There is no known cure for that particular condition.
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Old 05-20-2016, 09:03 PM   #13
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Ah, he's just "adding a little" to what he reads eh? A lot of people do that.

Lot's of people just like to talk and if they have nothing really exciting to talk about, they "improvise". But it sounds more fun than listening to a litany of aches and pains eh?
+1. this is an admirably glass-half-full approach.
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Old 05-20-2016, 09:28 PM   #14
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Ah, he's just "adding a little" to what he reads eh? A lot of people do that.

Ok, I would just go with the flow and ask what the aliens looked like, "Chewbacca or Jabba the Hut"
The "spicing up the story" angle could be a fit, and sometimes he simply takes it too far. I'll have to try the play along approach and see how he reacts.
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Old 05-20-2016, 09:28 PM   #15
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Personally, I greatly appreciate free entertainment these days. If anything, I would be egging your friend on.
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Old 05-20-2016, 09:45 PM   #16
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I think an honest response of "You can't honestly believe that, do you?" might work best. If he replies that he does, ask him to present the article that supports his assertion. Once or twice like this and he may wake up.
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Old 05-20-2016, 09:46 PM   #17
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Personally, I greatly appreciate free entertainment these days. If anything, I would be egging your friend on.
That's the spirit!

Have fun -
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Old 05-20-2016, 10:01 PM   #18
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Since these "facts" are often recent news stories, it occurs to me now perhaps he has a reading comprehension problem. He's relaying these "facts" in all seriousness. Lately I've just been nodding and saying, "Hmm."

Interesting he may have a issue of many sorts. I w*rked with a bunch of different folks in the past, sounds like some of the blue collar guys I w*rked with. Some people don't have critical thinking and reasoning skills. Some are LD, some just don't get one or more of the reality inputs. One older man told me he went to the first grade and then sent to share crop in the fields. He never learned to read but he had more God given common sense than many degreed folks I've known. I think there are quite a lot of folks, some seemingly normal, who would seem to be seriously whacked by the majority in some aspects of life.

When my DW and I first married we lived in a tiny, dumpy apartment with the landlords next door. They were a pleasant 70s couple, he spoke limited English, they were from Sweden. Lady asked my wife over to meet the family she often talked about. Wife meet the family, they were actors on a soap opera. Then the stories she told made sense. I have no idea what the lady's imaginary family meant, they were real to her.

We handled that situation by moving. Wasn't just because of the alternate reality next door.😀
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Old 05-21-2016, 08:28 AM   #19
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I'm afraid your friend may be a moron. There is no known cure for that particular condition.


+1. This is the only post needed.... But there are millions of them everywhere. And my experience has been don't hold your breath for this comment while correcting them... "Gee, I am such a fool and did not realize it. Please correct me whenever I am wrong".
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Old 05-21-2016, 08:39 AM   #20
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For more amusement just say, that is truly astounding, where did you read that.

Or the old time: is that so?
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