General Question

Facade's avatar

At what point do you, personally, quit trying to explain things to people who just don't understand?

Asked by Facade (22899points) June 6th, 2009

Do you keep trying to explain no matter what?
Do you not even bring up the topic(s) around that person?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

22 Answers

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

there’s always a way to convince someone of anything. you just have to figure out the right pattern of language. that said I have a low tolerance to stupid personally, so it really depends of how passionate about something I am.

Jeruba's avatar

Probably long after I should.

But if explaining does not work, I do have a few other tools in my toolkit before I give up. One is metaphor and analogy. Another is relating it to something in the other person’s own life. And another is asking questions, carefully, respectfully, trying to get at the “what” and not the “why” that is the obstacle. Many failures to communicate come down to (a) different definitions of terms and (b) unexamined assumptions.

But some people just aren’t going to get it. It’s okay. Walk away. You are not responsible for everyone’s perfect understanding.

And anyway there is always (always) the possibility that the one who does not get it is you.

Ivan's avatar

That wouldn’t be a very good thing to do.

cyn's avatar

I have a short-tempered so…the first time they don’t get it.

FrankHebusSmith's avatar

When it becomes clear that their “misunderstanding” is a matter of ignoring the truth/stubbornness/pure idiocy.

seekingwolf's avatar

I usually stop when I find that they are making the same argument/questions for more than 3 times in a row…and they also aren’t bothering to listen to what I have to say.

The last part is key. If someone isn’t going to take it what you say and isn’t paying attention, why bother?

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

If I get bored. I’m pretty passionate so if I get bored then that tells me whatever is being argued is played out.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

When there is nothing more to be gained by doing so.

laureth's avatar

I pretty much stopped using Fluther and Askville months ago. ;)

Darwin's avatar

When either one of us starts to get mad.

Mr_Callahan's avatar

Just before they get bitch-slapped…............just kidding.

Bluefreedom's avatar

I think part of it for me is how important the message is that I’m trying to get across. If it’s vital that I need someone to understand something, like in my work environment, I will make multiple attempts to deliver the material in a way that the recipient can understand. If it continues to be a failing venture, I will delegate one of my subordinates to work with the person to help them assimilate the information. They may end up being more successful than I was.

If it is casual conversation or something relatively unimportant, I will make a couple of efforts to articulate my points as best as I can so that they’re understandable. If it appears I can’t make any headway, I feel it is best for me to walk away from it at that point rather than end up irritated or disappointed from the interaction.

Lupin's avatar

My threshold is lower than @seekingwolf ‘s. If I get the exact same response after 2 tries, I figure I’ve seen the trend and there is no point continuing. Only a fool argues with a fool. Life’s too short.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

When their eyes start to glaze over, I realize that convincing them of anything is going to be as successful as teaching a pony to speak High German. Some people would rather go through life stoopid and it’s not my job to help them if they don’t want my help.

skfinkel's avatar

Telling people things is not how they learn. You have presented us with a great example of that. If you want someone to know something you know, you have to figure out a reason that they might want to learn it. If they have some purpose in knowing this, then they will get interested in learning it, and they will do it on their own.

augustlan's avatar

It depends on the subject matter, who I am trying to educate, and the purpose behind the education. In most cases, I walk away when confronted by circular logic more than twice as this indicates an unwillingness to even attempt to understand. However, if A) I am passionate about the subject matter, B) the person I’m speaking with is important to me, and C) the purpose is important to me, I’m like a dog with a bone. I won’t give up until all efforts have been exhausted.

YARNLADY's avatar

It depends on why they don’t understand, and how important it is that they do. Very few things are important enough to waste time on someone who is stubborn or just doesn’t care. My Father In Law simply refuses to understand things, so everybody just talks as if he isn’t in the room. At 88 years old, he has no interest in trying to understand most things.

mattbrowne's avatar

Do I keep trying to explain no matter what? No, at some point I don’t. A good example are young-earth creationists or free market fundamentalists.

Darwin's avatar

@YARNLADY – Maybe things change by the time you are 88. My dad is 84 and is attempting to understand quantum physics and is writing and publishing papers in cosmology.

The problem is that he wants me to understand it, too.

Cardinal's avatar

Pretty damn soon!

YARNLADY's avatar

@Darwin My impression of Grandpa is that he was always like this, so it’s not just the age thing. He has been ‘learning’ how to use the computer for the last dozen years, by making the nearest grandchild, or great grandchild come in and show him how, or letting Hubby show him using the logMeIn feature that allows remote access to the computer.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

when they’re done trying, so am i. i hate trying to explain something to someone (especially after they ask!) when they are not even trying to be on the same page with me anymore.

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