People try to pull us into their drama. They try to get us to debate them or entice us with gossip. They try to pull us down to their level by piquing our curiosity, stroking our ego or stirring an emotional response.
If we don’t respond, they get their feelings hurt. They may accuse us of cutting them off or acting superior. They may even accuse us of judging them. These are unconscious manipulative techniques to keep us engaged with them.
Here are some responses to have handy to get yourself free:
“I really don’t want to listen to others problems. I have enough on my plate with my own issues.”
“I care about you, but you are not your problems. Let me hear about you”.
“I don’t watch the news. Not interested.”
“I don’t engage in current events, it is a waste of energy.”
“I don’t talk about others. I don’t want them talking about me.”
“What you are talking about makes me feel wilted. I will have to disengage soon.”
“Tell me good things.”
You can ignore all the negative statements and when they say something positive, reward them with being engaged.
I use the following for shock value. I tell people “I don’t care”. What I mean is, that I don’t want to be in agreement with their problems. It takes them aback and it breaks through that unconscious habit of dumping. Of course I care but I don’t care to be dumped on. There is a huge difference.