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Kardamom's avatar

What should you do if you "call out" someone for being disingenuous, but then you get accused by that person of bullying?

Asked by Kardamom (31429points) June 26th, 2016

There have been several times when I have pointed out that someone has stretched the truth, or attempted to create a picture of themselves that was untrue, most likely to make themselves look more interesting, or more glamorous, or more wordly, only to get accused of being a big meany by that person.

In these cases, I have only used the person’s actual words and testimony to point out discrepancies, and outright lies, but sometimes these people get so angry at being called out on their follies that all they can do is “shoot the messenger.”

Should the messenger just coddle the tall tale tellers?

What do you do when you smell a proverbial rat?

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12 Answers

YARNLADY's avatar

In my experience, “shoot the messenger” comes from the recipient of the message, not from the subject. If the person you are reporting against is causing trouble, that should also be reported to the person in authority.

Perhaps I have misunderstood. By “calling out” do you mean you are reporting their behavior to an authorized third party?

Kardamom's avatar

What I mean by “calling out” is two things. First, pointing out publicly, that the person was being less than truthful, and secondly, letting the bosses, or people in charge of the forum/workplace/household know what is going on.

SABOTEUR's avatar

I’ve had a similar experience. Only, I want calling anyone out…

…well… I guess I was ‘cause I was attempting to help someone do something at work that they should have mastered 15 years ago, since this task is almost always required every work day.

(It’s like…what have you been DOING for 15 years?) So I stop what I have to get done to help this individual but it soon becomes apparent she has no interest in learning how to do what she asked me to help her with. This is no isolated incident. This woman frequently asks me to help her accomplish tasks she should have mastered years ago.

To make matters worse, I’m expected to listen to her bellyache about how screwed up the job is and how much she hates management. It’s the same questions and the same complaints over and over again.
So…yeah… I call her on it. And she immediately starts crying and accusing me of being mean to her.


Ideally, I’d avoid this woman. It’s not worth my time investing in someone who enjoys being miserable. Or a person who fails to appreciate getting paid for years despite not knowing her job. If I wasn’t the “go to” person I’d shrug her off.

So I’ve learned to keep my opinions to myself. When she (inevitably) approaches my desk with questions, I answer them as gently as I can muster. Then I purposefully resume doing whatever I was doing prior to her approach. I address whatever complaints she has as neutrally as I can until she gets bored with babbling and moves on to complain to someone else.

canidmajor's avatar

“What I mean by “calling out” is two things. First, pointing out publicly, that the person was being less than truthful, and secondly, letting the bosses, or people in charge of the forum/workplace/household know what is going on.”

Why on earth would you ever do this in the first place? Unless the exaggeration or embellishment is so egregious as to negatively affect the business ( as in the “workplace” mentioned) or to destroy a relationship or otherwise cause enormous damage in one way or another?
So what if someone embellishes? I personally think that avoiding an opportunity to be mean (and yes, it’s often mean) is a higher priority than being absolute with the facts.

Like I said, unless the exaggeration is really egregious, I don’t think of it as a “rat” at all.

Cruiser's avatar

Pointing out their lies or disingenuous comments in public like you did does nothing other than to invite conflict. Do not be so surprised they became defensive or went on the offensive towards you. First try approaching them in private and then if they break bad on you when you point out their flaws, pull out your fully charged tazer and drop them like a sack of rocks.

JLeslie's avatar

Why would you call someone out in front of others? It’s one thing if you are trying to help someone and tell them privately you know the real deal and it’s likely everyone else does too, but to say to embarrass them in front of others is the stuff of mean girls. Even telling them in private likely won’t be received well, because people who exaggerate in the way you describe are likely not self aware, and don’t want to be. Moreover, most of us can only handle hearing something negative about ourselves from people we completely trust, who we are 100% sure only have our best interests at heart.

As far as work, if an employee is lying and boasting, and it will hurt the team, then you have a right to tell the boss, or tip off the boss, but it shouldn’t be done in a public forum usually.

jca's avatar

At work I wouldn’t do that. I would hope that the boss realizes the person doesn’t know the important tasks that they should know.

On Fluther, I would do it and I see others do it, too, in relation to people asking the same question in various ways, or being hypocritical. I try my best not to be rude or aggressive, unless the person gets that way toward me first.

Kardamom's avatar

On Fluther, I would, and have, absolutely done it, because this is a forum for getting answers, not for furthering people’s lies and foolishness. Also, when people on Fluther start accusing someone of being mean for pointing out the truth, they need to be reprimanded, publicly and privately.

At work, I’ve had to go to bosses when someone was doing something dangerous that could actually kill someone. Think power tools and machines.

On Facebook, I’ve had to do that when one woman didn’t believe there was such thing as a peanut allergy. My friend has had a severe peanut allergy her entire life and has been hospitalized multiple times for anaphylactic shock. Her relative doesn’t believe that peanuts are harmful to anyone and this woman made some foolish remarks in front of everyone at a restaurant when my friend asked (as she always has to) whether or not the dish contained peanuts. So the woman, who I have never met (so cannot admonish privately) made a bunch of false and dangerous statements regarding peanuts allergies (or the lack of them, in her opinion) on Facebook, so I called her out on it.

I don’t really care whether or not people call me mean, or a bully, because that simply isn’t the case. I know some of you, here on Fluther, would rather coddle the crazies, but I won’t do that. Also, I don’t just call them out publicly, which is what they need, lest other Jellies have not already figured out the deceit because they don’t always read all of the pertinent information, I also let the mods know. There’s no point in talking to these people privately, because then everything turns into a he said, she said. It’s best to let the mods work it out with the person, but it’s important to let them know, because they can’t be everywhere at all times. If they think I’m doing something wrong, they’ll let me know.

JLeslie's avatar

Fluther is a different matter. Here I will call someone out also. Here, we are up for debate and we expect some challenges to what we say. Most of us anyway. Not that we should be mean or bullies, but we can point out inconsistencies easier here than real life situations.

YARNLADY's avatar

In the case of danger, such as the peanut allergy, being called a bully is not relevant, safety is the only thing that matters.

In a case where the speaker is telling tell tales, it depends on what your goal is. If you want to prove the speaker is a liar, the by all means call him out. If you are worried about the disinformation, then correct that part, but not in a confrontational manner.

If the outcome doesn’t matter, keep your opinion to yourself.

Kardamom's avatar

On Fluther, I think part of the outcome, is making sure people don’t make up crap. Especially when they’re doing it to cover their tracks, or simply to get attention.

We are here to give real answers, and real advice, but sometimes the people asking the questions lie about stuff. If I think it needs to be called out, especially when someone is continually asking the same question, but trying to mask it, by changing a few details here and there (and then getting pissy when someone points out to them that it’s the same question) or when they ask a question, but have no desire to get real answers (because they’re just playing a game here, to get noticed or get attention) I will call out that sh*t.

Seek's avatar

Name and shame, and damn the consequences.

I’m beyond tired of idly allowing assholes to thrive by taking advantage of an overly-polite society.

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