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dxs's avatar

How would I deal with this argument?

Asked by dxs (14426points) August 21st, 2014

I was just in an argument and there was a technique that the other person used that I felt was inappropriate.

This is what ze* said:
“You don’t have to find it odd just because I do, but I’m still going to find it odd no matter which non-emergency situation you can think of to call an emergency.”

-I never said anything was odd
-(For the sake of this question..it’s more complicated than this) I never called the situation an emergency

My initial reaction was that I felt ze put words in my mouth, but really, ze only said things that I feel directly imply that I said those things.

Is this an argumentative fallacy or something? How far does this technicality go? Should I get over it because technically I’m also making a presumption? It happened to me at work today too, where someone said something that I felt put words in my mouth. I didn’t know what to do, so for the future I want to be able to know how to deal with this.

*gender-neutral pronoun

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21 Answers

hominid's avatar

It doesn’t appear to be an argument at all, and therefore doesn’t need to be addressed (unless I’m missing something).

dappled_leaves's avatar

I guess it’s akin to a straw man argument. When confronted with a situation like the one you describe, I usually negate the assertion very quickly, then restate my original point (i.e., the thing they should actually be arguing with me about).

Ze: “You don’t have to find it odd just because I do, but I’m still going to find it odd no matter which non-emergency situation you can think of to call an emergency.”

Me: I never said that I found anything odd. What I did say was that…”

It usually brings the conversation back to the topic at hand. And gives the other person a chance to explain what they meant, if it was actually relevant in a way I didn’t perceive.

dxs's avatar

That makes sense because technically if I say “I never said I found anything odd”, I never said that they said that, either. I can’t even say “What I did say was that…” because bringing up “odd” was so far out in left field. I felt that bringing up the topic of odd not only put words in my mouth, but also degraded me somehow.

@hominid The argument was on definitions of an emergency. Does that help? I didn’t want to give many details because it happened here on Fluther. I can PM you the thread if you’d like.

livelaughlove21's avatar

Really? I mean…really?

How nice. A thread all about me.

There was no argument, as someone else already said. What was the plan here? Get a good response from another jelly and then post it on the other thread as if it were your own?

You don’t need to give details if it happened on Fluther. We can all very easily find what you’re talking about. Not very discrete.

dxs's avatar

@livelaughlove21 This thread is not all about you, it’s all about me. My plan is to get a better understanding. There was an argument: you were taking a different side than me. I don’t care that you’re the other person because it’s irrelevant. I’m not venting, I’m not angry, I’m not looking to argue about it again. I just want to know how to deal with these things in the future. The permalink dates will tell you that this question was asked after my last response on that thread.

kritiper's avatar

Sounds like ze has a bit of a superiority complex, especially when it comes to you. Condescending. I had a boss like that. No matter what I said or did, it was wrong to him and he said it in a way that let me know what he thought. Try to work past the negative aspect of ze’s words and see if anything that is left is of any value.

SavoirFaire's avatar

First, it’s worth noting that the person in question neither said nor implied that you said anything was odd. In fact, they said quite the opposite: they said that they found something odd, and that they did not expect you to agree (thus implying that you don’t find it odd).

It is the second point, then, that is most relevant. Here I agree with @dappled_leaves: the best thing to do would be to say “that’s not what I said, here’s what I said…” and then to redirect the discussion back to the topic.

As for fallacies, @hominid is correct. There’s no argument, so there cannot be a fallacy. What you really have is just a misunderstanding and a need to clarify. Like @dappled_leaves said, this makes it somewhat akin to the straw man fallacy (since a straw man involves misrepresenting what someone else is saying), but straw men are usually intentional. In this case, however, it doesn’t look like there’s any “technique” being used at all. It’s just a minor breakdown in communication.

Now that we know the culprit was @livelaughlove21, though, I suppose I could send you some links to places where she got angry at others for doing to her what she is presently doing to you. Then you could ask her why it’s okay when she does it, but not when they do it. That’s unlikely to move the conversation forward, however, and certainly won’t bring the situation to a close. As such, you might as well just move on.

Verbal disputes happen. It’s just a feature of natural language that these sorts of confusions can arise. Some people will be cooperative when trying to work out differences in language, others will not. That’s just a feature of human nature.

pleiades's avatar

By just reading the statement “You don’t have to find it odd just because I do, but I’m still going to find it odd no matter which non-emergency situation you can think of to call an emergency.”

It seems like that person is pretty set in stone with their ideals and aren’t willing to budge AND has a predisposition to whatever situation you will present.

This is what I call prejudice/ignorance.

Granted I have no clue what the context is but the statement reveals their next move as it pertains to the argument, which is to always go against yours

JLeslie's avatar

I rarely accuse someone of putting words in my mouth, I don’t usually use those words. In that sort of situation I say that I think we are miscommunicating, or I say I think I feel I am being misinterpreted and that I want to explain again what I mean or what my intent was. Sometimes it is just a disagreement like the Q you are referrng to with @livelaughlove21 I think where she lives or in her family they don’t use the word emergency lightly (I said the same on the Q) so she found it odd to use it regarding pizza. That’s the thing about communication, we all have our own filters and it affects how we hear things and also what we would say ourselves. I think pizza emergency is a cute phrase.

I think if Ze, or anyone, is telling you you are wrong that’s one thing. If they are telling you they just would not use the term themselves, or just don’t think of a situation the same way that is another thing. You can clarify for yourself by asking them if they think it is wrong or just a difference of opinion. Some people are much more literal than others. Some people have very strong opinions regarding the use of the English language. I get into it with gailcalled on Q’s because she is sure of her definition of a word and she doesn’t care that I use the word differenty, even if my definition is in the dictionary, and I am not talking abut the urban dictionary, I mean Merriam Webster. The word “generally” comes to mind. I use it to mean usually. Many jellies feel “generally” should only be used when a person is saying something is always true. I catch myself and try to clarify when I remember, but it’s tiring.

My impression is you might be too defensive when someone interprets what you are saying incorrectly. I think the goal should be to re-explain your position in a different way, with different words. If you simply disagree with each other then you can agree to disagree.

Warning: It can backfire to say you think there was a miscommunication. My SIL takes offense to the implication that she might not have understood something. Miscommunication happens to all of us, there is no offense to be taken. I guess she has some sort of gut reaction and feels she is being called stupid, when really miscommunication does not only fall on the person who is listening it also falls on the person doing the talking, and it has nothing to do with intelligence.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@SavoirFaire I’d love to see those threads. I’m not sure what exactly I’m doing to OP, but I’m interested to hear what you think is going on.

I honestly can’t believe we’re still talking about emergency pizza money…

What I said was very simple. I thought it was odd that the OP in the other thread had referred to getting pizza “in case of an emergency” more than once on Fluther. I didn’t really expect anyone but him to respond to that, which he did. I didn’t need it explained to me what he meant because I understood what he was trying to say. I was simply stating that I thought calling a situation in which you order a pizza an “emergency” was odd. I wasn’t trying to convince anyone else to agree with me – I was expressing an opinion, that’s it. I’m not really sure where the argument is and I certainly don’t see how that makes me ignorant or prejudiced, @pleiades. I wasn’t aware that having a different opinion from someone else on a topic that’s really pretty insignificant and not wanting to argue about it made one “ignorant.” Now I know.

dxs's avatar

@SavoirFaire @JLeslie @livelaughlove21 The reason I said “I didn’t want to give details because it’s here” is because I don’t want to argue this again. I don’t care about the context unless it is pertinent to answering the question, and I don’t want to call anyone a “culprit”. If you want to justify it, PM me and I’ll force myself to listen. But as I said earlier, My “plan” here wasn’t to argue about it. I know that I vent a lot through my questions, but I swear this isn’t that and I’m not being passive aggressive. This instance just caught me by surprise as it happened twice yesterday (once in real life) and I didn’t know what to say. I was going to refer to that one but it was long and I couldn’t remember the details as much as this one.
@SavoirFaire The hypothetical argument was that we had opposing definitions of “emergency” if that helps. That one line I quoted would just a piece of a dialogue.

Thanks for all the helpful tips!

JLeslie's avatar

@dxs I am just using the pizza as an example as you did, but I am addressing the broader topic.

It sounds to me like you get very defensive or angry when there is a miscommunication. If I were you I would think about why it makes you so angry. Or, maybe angry is the wrong word to describe it. Whatever emotion it strikes, maybe it goes back to childhood? I don’t understand what is the big deal about correcting the other person’s interpretation of what you said or meant. Do you feel you are being accused of something you didn’t do? Being misunderstood or misinterpreted can be very hurtful, because if someone feels it misrepresents their character they want to correct the perception of their image. An extreme example would be somene saying something and another person finding it to be racist, when there was absolutely no intent of racism and the person deep in their heart does not believe themselves to be a racist. They would not their choice of words or someone else’s interpretation of their words to cause them to be viewed as a racist.

I miscommunicate with my husband all the time. He sometimes swears I said something I didn’t even a minute after saying it. It’s like the game telephone, people listen to a message and then put it in their words in their head.

There is two different things going on here; differing opinions and misunderstandings. Differing definitions fits within the misunderstanding.

Stinley's avatar

I might regret joining in this as it all seems a bit fraught…

The question @dxs is asking is how to deal with someone who takes what you’ve said and twists it or says it was something different to what you actually said/meant (I think). @JLeslie make a good point about pointing out that you are unhappy with what they’ve said. I’m quite happy to say that it was my mistake even if it wasn’t, if it helps someone else accept that they were wrong. I would say something like – ’ Oh that’s not what I mean, sorry I didn’t make myself clear’ then I would go on to explain again.

dappled_leaves's avatar

Part of the issue here is that @dxs simply misunderstood the line that he quoted in the details.

Ze was saying that ze thought the thing was odd.
Ze was not saying that @dxs thought that the thing was odd.

This changes the entire context of the question.

Buttonstc's avatar

Who the hell is Ze?

JLeslie's avatar

@dappled_leaves Exactly. It’s all misunderstanding and can be straightened out with a follow up question.

Maybe the whole point is many people have unrealistic expectations about communication. Mistakes happen all the time, especially when the communication is in writing.

longgone's avatar

@Buttonstc “Ze” is a gender-neutral pronoun.

dxs's avatar

I should’ve used the example from work instead!
@dappled_leaves @JLeslie I said it’s how I felt, not how I understood it. I specifically pointed out the fact that technically what ze said did not put words into my mouth. In cases where more extreme words than “odd” are used, I can’t help but feel annoyed. I guess it’s my emotions that are the problem.
@Buttonstc Read the details. The name doesn’t matter anyway.

I’m going to try to delete this because it’s bothering people and my question has been answered.

CWOTUS's avatar

I can recall vaguely similar arguments that I have had (especially with my wife), where one of her argument tactics was to conflate something I had said (and which she may or may not have understood) with a belief of her own about how I thought about something.

For example, if I had told her once that I liked apples, then in a later argument she might start off with “You may think apples are perfect the way they are, but…” and be off and running. Many times when we’d be getting deeper into unpleasant arguments I would have to attempt to rein in her thought process and remind her that all she had to go on in terms of what she knew about my likes and dislikes, prejudices and attitudes, knowing and not-knowing was exactly what I told her or what she could logically deduce from my reactions. And since I never said “apples are perfect just the way they are”, all she knew from my previous statement was that “I liked apples. Period.” (In fact, depending on when I had said it and what might have happened later, she may not even be certain – except in her own mind – that I still cared for apples at all.) She may infer my belief in the perfection of apples from other actions – maybe – but she couldn’t inflate my statement into her own straw man argument.

Substitute a woman’s name for “apples” and you can see how these arguments can get a lot more charged than whether you should use macs or Granny Smiths for a pie.

JLeslie's avatar

@dxs Why do you think you feel that way? I asked that above. Can you trace it back to something?

You can still give the work example.

I can give an example I think, it’s one that the collective has discussed on other Q’s. It comes up during religious and political discussions a lot. As you know a lot of jellies are atheists, not religious, and fairly liberal. I find, and others do also, that when a religious person is questioned as to why they believe something, or why they have a certain opinion on a political issue, they feel they are being attacked or told they are wrong, while the person questioning might simply be interested in their opinion or in understanding their thought process. Why does the person feel attacked by a simple question? I can’t know for sure, but I think it is because they come from a place of feeling like many people are against Christians now (in America) so they don’t hear a question, they hear a challenge, or disapproval.

dxs's avatar

Honestly, I don’t feel like talking about this anymore. It’s bothering me and I have so many other things bothering me in real life right now so I’m not going to let this one add to it. I don’t think the mods are going to delete it so I’ll just stop following it.

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