I don't want to discuss it

[96 Jan 08] started; [96 Sep 02] filled out a bit.

Have you ever been in an argument with someone (who may well perceive either that they're in the wrong, or that you're right, or that you're about to win the argument) and had them say ``I don't want to discuss it''?

Or have they said it when they've stated their view on something and you are about to reply with a differing view with no intention of an ongoing discussion, and they have avoided hearing something they don't want to hear, by saying this?

I've encountered both of these enough to think it worth looking into the psychology of why they say it, and into the sociology of why they can get away with it. Coming up with ways to deal with it would be a useful side-effect.

Unfortunately, scientific research into this is probably going to prove tricky, as the subjects may not want to discuss why they don't want to discuss things....

Avoiding justification

Another thing that this response helps people to avoid is having to justify their views or impositions; it allows them to live in a way that perhaps they sense is untrue or unfair; for example, I have seen it used by by someone who needed to control those with whom they interacted; this person also avoided having to be able to justify their behaviour by claiming to be ``a very private person'' (and I have sympathies with that claim to some extent, as I find it hard to cope with people looking over my shoulder).

There are at least two ways that people might want to push away justification:

  1. they feel they are wrong (or at least might not be right) or might fail to convince
  2. the claim is a dogma An expression of this that could manifest as either is when they cannot cope with the situation resulting from a successful refutation of their claim.

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