What Shutting People Down Says About You

by Bill Brenner on February 18, 2016

I’m someone who believes in full, frank communication. It’s essential for plans running smoothly and people not misunderstanding each other. There’s a certain personality type that gets in the way of that every time. And it makes my blood boil.

Mood music:

It’s the person who shuts you down when you broach a subject they don’t want to talk about. They put up their hand and start rattling off a litany of reasons they’re brushing you off. It makes the other person feel disrespected and otherwise shitty. The person who does the brushing off usually talks a lot and wants you to listen to every word they say.

Which makes it all the more infuriating when they brush you off.

I have a few people like this in my life. I want to open up about something and reach some deep understandings. Instead they tell me they have nothing to do with whatever it is I’m bringing up.

Usually, they have a lot to do with what I’m bringing up.

In the more understandable moments, they’ll say they can’t talk about something because it’s too stressful a topic — as if not discussing it will make the problem go away.

Here’s what brushing people off all the time says about you:

  • It’s your way or the highway. You have strong ideas on how things ought to be. You make those views known all the time. But when someone wants to talk about it in more detail — whether they agree with you or not — you shut that person down. You’re simply not going to talk about it. Then you try to change the conversation to something pleasant and pretend that person’s concerns don’t exist.
  • You’re afraid of being proven wrong. If you talk a lot about how things should be and then shut down someone who questions you, it’s more than likely that you know your position has cracks. You simply can’t handle the possibility that the other person might prove you wrong or suggest something that is legitimately a better way. You most likely fall into this category if you are the elder in the room or you outrank the other person in position.
  • You lack the ability to tackle difficult problems. If you live in fear of being proven wrong, chances are you’re not good at solving problems and reaching common ground with people. You may see yourself as powerful, but it shows you are weak.
  • You have unresolved issues. You shut people down because they are touching a nerve, bringing up something so painful that you can’t bear it. I’m more sympathetic to this category of people. But they are still being unkind.

Remember, folks: We’re all stuck with each other on this planet. We need to be kind to each other. A critical component of kindness is the ability to listen to someone, however unpleasant it may be.

If you do all the talking and none of the listening, then chances are you’re the type of person nobody wants to go near — the person people ridicule.

Who wants to be that person?

Dream of Sacrifice by EddieTheYeti“Dream of Sacrifice” by EddieTheYeti

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

jonee February 18, 2016 at 9:47 am

OMG, you are sooo right! I have a sister who shuts me down on family issues. How I would like “full, frank conversation” to “open up and reach deep understanding”. I wonder which one she is on your list. – prob afraid. I don’t know why.

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