There are conversations or people that drain us or make us feel insecure, maybe even inferior. Sometimes we’re the subject of a joke we don’t agree is funny. People could also just be flat out mean and say demeaning, invalidating, critical things to us in casual conversation that still hurts our feelings.


Of course, this shouldn’t be anyone’s motive in a conversation and maybe they don’t even realize that it’s something they do. We have no control over this; however, we do have control over how we manage it. Remember that a conversation is a two way street. You are just as much of a participant as the other person, which means you have just as much control. Here are some way to stay in control over a difficult conversation:


  1. Deflect – change the focus of the central topic. Not meaning to change the subject, but rather treat the center topic indifferently and have an attitude of “Surely, you don’t mean me!”
  2. Distract – now we’re talking about changing the subject completely. Or possibility include someone else in the conversation or turn everyone’s attention on something else happening in the environment. Get people thinking about something else.
  3. Fog – ask a lot of questions for clarifications or more details. This opens up opportunities for a segue or related topic. In a way changing the subject, but not completely, just redirecting it. For example, say “By the way…”
  4. Stay neutral – this is an easier way to stay emotionally detached from the conversation but still allow it to continue, “Really?” “Interesting.” “That’s cool.”
  5. Distance – there may be times we need to actually detach and distance ourselves by either walking away, zoning out, or daydreaming.
  6. Drift – slowly drift the conversation to something that’s more of interest to you, “That reminds me…” and lead into something you’d like to talk about.


We can also emotionally insulate ourselves by creating a separation between us and the person being demeaning. To protect ourselves from negative feelings, just imagine some sort of barrier between you that creates space. For example: a wall, a force feild, shades to pull down. Just visualize that separation before getting into a conversation with the speaker or when you start to feel negativity.


If there are remarks that don’t make you feel good, don’t pretend to agree and laugh. Don’t respond to comments that are meant to shame you. Don’t worry about keeping the peace if the person keeps stomping over you. Don’t let your feelings be triggered.


If you’re struggling to stick up for yourself or find it difficult to manage these interactions, please contact Crownview Medical Group to get in touch with a medical professional who can provide you with some advice.