Deflect or Agree with Everything (a Huge Time Saver with Regular People)

This blog is essentially regular people repellant. The average person takes one look at the name of the website and eyes begin to roll. Instead of reading through and finding out we’ve already met several people in real life and this is not run by a bunch of broke people, the average person moves along quickly. In essence, this website encapsulates what we call “rapport breaking”. Everything about it is set up to push away and detract regulars (also known as mosquitoes).

Now unfortunately… you’re going to have to interact with regulars on a daily basis and no one should take on the tone that we use in this blog (although it’s what we actually think!). We’ll go ahead and summarize the best way to go about your day to decrease your interactions with these value leeches …. Deflect or Agree.

Two Key Principles

Principle #1 – The Blame or Praise Game: The average person believes in superstitions. Make no mistake about it. The typical person has lucky socks or lucky shirts or some insane item categorically unrelated to success or failure. This is an absolute necessity to understand. People will attribute “value” to obscure objects that are unrelated to success or failure.

If you said hi to someone in the hallway and they got fired 20 seconds later… There is a chance they will blame you for the event! In addition, if you said hi to that same person 20 seconds before getting a promotion, they might view you as “lucky”.

There is a reason why weather women routinely get hate email in volatile climate areas and it has nothing to do with logic or reason. They are just looking for someone to blame.

This strange phenomenon is also known as “Shooting the Messenger” or blaming the person who delivers bad news. Unfortunately, the phrase is not entirely correct. The correct way to understand this phenomenon is “Shoot or Praise the Messenger”. If you need an example of praising an unrelated messenger… just look at Television Game shows where people hug and kiss the host of the show even though he had nothing to do with them winning the prize. All of the people who win the prize will say “the host was amazing!”.

Hopefully, with the short paragraphs above, you’ve already identified a few people who view you favorably or unfavorably for unrelated reasons.

Principle #2 – Forced Connections Cause More Hate: This is the second most important item to understand. Due to some sort of “sixth sense” people do not like it when others attempt to become the messenger (or avoid being the messenger). If a good event happens and an individual comes out of the woodwork to praise them… a baseline value of contempt is built. In the reverse scenario, if you witness a negative event and run away suddenly, the person will then believe you had something to do with it and… a baseline value of contempt is built.

Now we see the clear conundrum. Fortunately, there is an answer which is the *Deflect or Agree* framework.

Deflect or Agree

Deflection Points:

Avoiding the Blame or Praise in the First Place: Once we all agree that there is an implicit blame or praise dynamic at play the first step is to play offense. Like practically everything else in life, playing offense sure beats playing defense because you can continue to put the pressure on the opposing team to recover. Playing offense in this case requires you to *deflect* situations where Blame or Praise will take place. The last thing you want to do is have a group of regular people blaming you for their problems (regular people have a TON of problems with nothing to lose). In addition, you don’t want them asking you for help either (time suck).

#1 Steer the Conversation: Since you’ll develop a solid baseline set of sales skills, you will have solid conversational abilities to help steer any and all conversations. You’ll naturally find yourself mirroring the body language of everyone you speak with, helping you establish a baseline level of rapport and nothing more. Now your goal is to avoid being associated with anything positive or negative. *Deflect* the conversation to irrelevant pop culture or headline items.

For one reason or another, this seems to work and there is always some meaningless article on Yahoo, Twitter moments or otherwise to pull from. The most consistent item to use is a “widget description” conversation. During the rare times where you’re forced to interact with regulars you will ask them about the latest “widget” that came out. New iPhone, New Oculus Rift, New Restaurant… so on and so forth. Now you’ll see what we’ve done with this set up!

After steering the conversation to something “new” that came out you get to ask questions about it since 90% of people will know about it. Pretend you don’t know much about it and have them *explain* the widget or what food the restaurant serves, so on and so forth. This is key as you become the “student” in this situation and the person will feel like they added value by giving you information. Importantly, do not ask them for any actual advice. All you are doing is asking for *descriptions*. This will make it extremely difficult for them to claim that they added any value to your life since all they did was regurgitate something you could have learned with a five second google search.

In short, ask for descriptions of innocuous items and be happy/jovial about the response so you can be the “normal” guy in their eyes.

#2 Deflect All Advice Related Topics: Unless you’re asked for it, never give any advice. People don’t want advice they just want to hear what they already believe. Since you’ll rarely be asked for any advice (a good thing), don’t dig your own grave by giving out advice on any topic. Never have an opinion on sports games, politics, making money or otherwise. In fact, if at all possible, your default deflection response is “I don’t know anything about XXXX to be honest, I really wish I knew but I’ve never learned about XXXXX”.

There is a strange part of human nature where it is difficult to watch someone do something incorrectly (your instinct is to help)… Don’t do it! They won’t want the help and even if you’re right they typically won’t listen. Again, don’t give any advice and deflect all advice related topics.

You know you’re moving in the *wrong* direction when regular people are asking you questions all the time in your day to day life. Deflect *all* topics away from anything opinionated.

#3 Physical Deflection: You know who regular people don’t trust? They don’t trust clumsy people (psychology). So you’ve guessed it! Appear a bit clumsy. If you know you’ll be forced into a regular person interaction mess things up a bit. Make your collar unaligned, carry a glass of water far too full of liquid so you’re walking around carefully and spilling a tad and of course carelessly drop irrelevant items here and there.

People will not ask for advice from someone they view as clumsy so physically acting the part can certainly help deter any questions. To add to the clumsy-ness you can ramble when asked basic questions so people become a bit frustrated that it takes you five sentences to say something that could have been communicated in 10 words.

Final Note on Deflection: While we’ve kept it short, these three items alone will make it excruciatingly difficult to be involved in any blame or praise situation. We’d wager you’re safe 90% of the time if you follow those cardinal rules: 1) steer to description related conversations – them talking not you, 2) avoid opinions by pointing to a certain aspect where you know “nothing about it” and 3) physically act a bit off or clumsy to avoid direct questions (bonus: they will talk secretly about how they can’t believe you’re so clumsy!)

Agreement Points:

De-coupling the Connection: Life isn’t fair. No matter what you do you’re going to have “regular” people ask for your opinion at some point. There is no escaping this situation. Sure we would all rather physically peel back each and every nail from our fingernails to our toenails than be in this situation… but… like paying your taxes, you’re going to be forced into this situation from time to time. We’re now in agreement mode to avoid the contempt framework where you’re associated with some sort of an event where you want no responsibility.

#1 Guess Their Opinion: This requires a lot of quick thinking but you may be able to knock it out quickly. Anyone who asks for advice just wants to hear their own opinion as stated above (reason for avoiding advice). Your goal is to guess their opinion… the one that they have *already* formulated. Typically the structure is *start small and agree*.

If someone is asking about making money, start with some outrageously small way to earn money off their current skill set (time for money exchange for the win!). If it is about physical change add some meaningless item that adds a couple minutes to their exercise routine (add a few sprints!). So on and so forth.

Notice… the framework is exactly the same as advertising directed towards regular people. It involves some small “trick” that will “transform or shock” the person. What this really means is that people are looking for small changes. No one wants real advice that requires work, they just want some tiny change that will “change things”. The enormous benefit of this line of thinking is that your small edit or suggestion won’t hurt or help them. It will be neutral. This helps you avoid future requests and helps you avoid contempt (their feelings towards you).

#2 Suggest a Third Party: Have a quick list of large popular websites and forums to refer the person to. This is a great way to avoid repeat advice. You’re going to bank on herd mentality. By recommending a large popular website or forum for the answer you can guarantee at least one person on the website/forum knows what they are talking about and you avoid burning one of your actual contacts who knows the answer inside and out.

#3 Keep the Smile and Nod Consistent: Keeping everything together, once you find that you’re in “agreement” with some innocuous change lock into the smile and nod set up. “Hmm yeah that makes a lot of sense” should be your gut reaction and make it seem like they got something out of the conversation.

Final Note on Agreement: You’re going to find yourself in this situation a few times and you’ll be forced to provide an opinion. If you can zero in and agree on some small meaningless change you’ll reap the following benefits: 1) no impact in being blamed or praised and 2) correct deflection to a “good source” saving you time

Concluding Remarks

– This set up is specifically for dealing with regular people since they will not change

– Regular people are extremely emotional and irrational and will blame or praise you for association

– Don’t try to be involved positively or negatively *stay neutral*. If you try to swing it to be a positive you could build contempt and on the flip side they may ask you for more advice (time suck!). No winning in swinging the pendulum.

– Play offense by deflecting all conversations to description based items when possible. If you’re forced into those boring topics like sports then go ahead and play “neutral” which is something regional based (home team fan for example).

– If forced into advice situations, start SMALL. No regular person actually wants to improve their life they want some small trick that could change everything for them. By making small irrelevant changes the impact is neutral and you can refer them to a larger resource beyond yourself.

Good luck in dealing with regulars, it isn’t easy! It took many years to avoid arguing with idiots on the internet and giving advice to people who desperately need it. Remember these rules and you’ll save hours of your life (more likely months or years).

As usual NO questions. A new Q&A will be sent to email subscribers shortly (this week). 

Comments

  1. says

    Nod and smile, this is the way to deal with regular people, just nod and smile. I figured that one a long time ago. We have an expression *don’t throw your pearls to pigs*, it is just not worth your time and energy.

    Now if some friend genuinely ask you for this or that advice and need your help, I say go for it, but in most cases just play dumb. Or better, cut regular people from your life completely. You are average of people you hang out with, so choose your friends wisely.

    • Wall Street Playboys says

      It becomes easier to avoid regular people as time passes, but it’s practically inevitable. Smile and nod leaves them happy about the Interaction, we prefer complete deflection as well to avoid the occurance from ever happening again.

      As you know, zero value is gained from those interactions and your time just goes down the tube.

    • says

      I find that most people you will meet in your life are “regular” people, the sort of people who just drift through life without any real purpose or willpower. They will complain and do nothing to change their situation.

      I often get asked questions on what to do in the gym from people I know. I give them tips on how to improve what they are doing (since they are clueless), but they don’t end up listening anyways and do their own shit. Years later they still look like they have never even set foot in the gym.

      I used to get frustrated about this type of attitude, but now I have come to accept it. The lesson is that most people don’t want to change, even if things aren’t working. They don’t want to put in the effort or I don’t know what, but that’s the general attitude. It’s a waste of time dealing with such people, since they will only drag you down.

      However unfortunately it is also really hard to find people who are not that way, people who are driven, people who want to improve and work hard to do it, and people who are rational and critical thinkers.

  2. Marco says

    This is pretty much how I dealt with idiots in high school (which were 99% of the people there). The weird thing about it is, not only did I never get into trouble, people praised me as a ”legend” and ”so smart”… LMAO. A little manipulation added onto that got everyone to vote for me as valedictorian.

    Now in university (I’m Canadian), this is hard to pull off, as nobody really asks about this stuff, but I’ll test this out on a few people & see what happens.

  3. says

    I just double down,laugh and steer the conversation elsewhere.
    To tell you the truth,i don’t even have real conversations.I am just performing.

    And most regular people don’t even pay attention to what you are saying.Solipsism.

  4. Mike says

    Great Post,

    However it does take time and practice for it to come naturally. For me it was the smile and nod part for some time if I ever heard some bs I always had to open my mouth or was engaged. Took some time for me to realize that in the end they won’t listen and I had justed wasted my valuable time.

    Great place to practice for me was in the gym. How many times are you working out and that 30 year old beer belly guy walks over and starts giving his fitness advice or concerns. Smile, nod and go right back to what your doing or turn up the volume with the headphones when that “guy” is around.

  5. JL says

    Funny how much like meeting women (where you for screen for fly girls worth your time, and have a flowchart in your head on swooping them from point A to B)..

    It also makes sense to screen men (if they’re also worth your damn time), and in this case, a highly accurate 3-step formula flowchart on how to get rid of them in case they’re not!

    • JL says

      PS: This has happened to me bunch of time before I realized it.

      I meet new friends, be it male and female, and somewhere along the line of course over drinks and snacks we’ll get to talk on where ya’ll asses wanna be within the next 3/5/10 years in our lives.

      Being a conceited smart dude of course I got this knack of throwing insightful WSP-level life-changing step-by-step guides and advice right at their faces.

      TL;DR: I’m not friends with them anymore lmao what else can you expect.

      Not about bragging about my current lifestyle standing being better than theirs, but generally the takeaway is **there are actually certain social adjustments to make when you’re about that life of getting bigger shares in the pie**.

      Playing dumb; steering the unnecessary attention and spotlight FROM you; still being able to relate, make people feel understood and still feel comfortable around you, not to mention nodding and agreeing on blabbers and shit

      That’s the realest unspoken shit that takes balls lol

      I even ponder about it sometimes if it’s something biological / innate that social psychologists have overlooked, but good lord gotta admit the whole dynamic in the big picture is insane 🙁

      • goddamnregularpeople says

        I was in this situation yesterday having a conversation with 3 guys. (We’re all Engineering freshmen)

        As a mindset litmus, I brought up the idea of how sacrificing a large portion of your free time (partying/girls/video games) for doing extra work in your 20s would amount to far greater wealth in your 30s which in return provides more free time and money to have fun in the long run.

        Immediately, 2 of the guys dismissed the idea “Thats debatable, how do you know money will make you happy? You won’t think about having fun in your 30s. Whats the point of learning outside of the syllabus if thats what our grades are based on? You’re stressing about the future too much bro, just chill out”

        The other guy agreed with me briefly before being cut off by the lectures of the 2 dismissers.

      • Anonymous says

        OMG! I stumbled across your website through a series of “lucky” events; one of the big ones being that it took me a little too long to realize that giving advice is a no-no. A lot of what I’ve read on prior posts is probably going to save me years of time searching for the information.

      • Marc says

        True.

        Hell, last october my mum came back from the doctor. The doc told her if that if she didn’t change her diet she would develop diabetes. She had 5 months to change her diet before it would be too late.

        Kept eating like a pig, cheese, chocolate, drinking alcohol all day. Yesterday she came back home and broke down crying because she now has diabetes.

        I spent those five months trying to coach her and all she gave me was hate and resentment “I’m tired let me enjoy my TV with my cheese!”, just some “poor me I’m so sad and you are so mean to me” – whut? I’m trying to HELP you, how is that mean?!

        But of course, it’s not her fault. Nothing could have been done.

        And she doesn’t even do her injections because “that’s too much of a hastle”.

        I love my mum, but hell…come on…

        And each time I try to help her, she hates me. But when I tell her she is right she loves me. Same with the doc. She doesn’t go to see him anymore because “he is such an asshole for telling me I’m too fat”.

        That’s insane. Insane.

      • goddamnregularpeople says

        Sorry to hear about that Marc.

        My mother has low-blood sugar and was advised by the doctor to eat regular, healthy meals, avoiding junk food.

        Like you, I tried to help her to no avail, she frequently complains about the symptoms after not taking any action to try improve her situation. It pains me to see the woman who lovingly raised me in such poor health, but I can’t help to think how “regular” she is.

  6. Houston Portfolio says

    Nice. Been going through this a lot the past few months, just never had it broken down like this before.

    Ever since I’ve been in sales and focusing primarily on $$$, every time I’ve found myself having to deal with regular people I literally talk about something either mainstream and/or related to them and take on the role of “student” as they laugh and react like “dude I can’t believe you didn’t know that!!” And I’m thinking “yeah because I don’t give a f*ck about the new PS4” or whatever it is.

    However, to get them out of my presence so I can focus on my activity, I find myself imitating their body language and leading them away from my place of work and then politely exiting the conversation on a high note or if I see a gap in the conversation.

  7. YM says

    Actually laughed out loud at asking about innocuous items and walking around while spilling water.

    While its funny, its so true.

    I commonly see that successful guys who enjoy just screwing around when they aren’t working and do whatever they want are viewed as “immature” and the “dumb one” in a group of regular people. Typically that person actually the most successful in business and with women. “I don’t know why girls like him!”

    Lastly, given readers of this blog are interested in online sales – do not even try and tell a regular person about online sales or how much money you can make in it. It doesn’t register.

    Can’t wait to try the water trick.

  8. Mariano says

    How to avoid regular people:

    Easy, the moment they approach you just START SCREAMING like you have seen the demon and then run away.

    Next time they will think you are crazy and will try to avoid you.

  9. Ambitious says

    Great post.

    Problem is when they are inside your company….I definitely need to do some re-structuring. Built a large team, and I think im going to make less than when it was just me, but I have the freedom to take time off, BUT I have to deal with them.

    Not really worth it.

  10. says

    Since taxi drivers are talktative where i live , the first thing I do when I take one is to put my earphones and plug to my own world so I can read your blog, keeps my mood excellent, and helps me avoid broke people discussions.

  11. Marc says

    “Yeah you are right bro, she is such a bitch, not your fault”

    “Yeah I guess you are right, it’s tough to make money in your situation”

    “Yeah it’s sure the fault of your genes that you can’t lose weight”

    “Yeah man, eating ice-cream and crying is the way to go”

    “Yeah man, he is such an asshole to her, keep playing nice and she will eventually understand you were meant for each other”

    “Yeah marriage is wonderful, go for it mate I’m happy for you”

    They love when you give them that kind of advice and end up respecting and liking you more, while when you give them actual helpful advices, they hate and ressent you.

    I figured, why care about them? The only way they will learn is if they are burnt enough. So I let them burn. And then if they ask me for advices I will give them real advices (and keep doing so only if they apply them).

  12. NE says

    thx for the great time-saving tips,

    I find saying things along the lines of “I heard XXX say YYY” or “I’ve read ZZZ” a great way to take the responsibility from yourself in occasions where you are pushed to give advice (direct questions at work for example)

    as a bonus, it will also signal any successful people that may be in witnessing (work meeting etc. ) a signal to recognize – many successful people seem to quote while regular people always state their opinion.

  13. Mastermind says

    Interesting post. Can relate – I find it hard with my old group of friends to talk about what i do now without the room going quiet and everyone carefully listening and asking questions. Assuming best thing to do here is lie down a little.

  14. Simon says

    This is something I struggled with a lot. For the majority of my life I would assume people really wanted help and good advice (because I would)…what a massive timesuck.
    While these are all great tips, if you still have some faith in rationality of regular people, read a book “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds”. Cernovich recommended it awile ago, and recently I finally got to read it. It’s bit long, 499 pages. But to get the gist of it, you only need to read first 50-60 pages. Every page after that will only crush your faith in humanity even more.
    The main takeaway: “Men think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.”
    Oh yeah, it was published in 1841. It’s chilling to see how little has changed.

  15. says

    Another cool article, Agree with 98% of what you said and the other 2% is irrelevant or out of scope, so I won’t mention here.

    Despite the “no questions” policy, I’d like an extra step of advice if possible?

    I like the approach of deflecting and it really shines in 1 on 1 occasions like the examples you stated. Using it for a couple of years so far, and it really makes sense.

    But what happens when it comes to more of a “broadcast” situation. I mean when it’s about your opinion (pov) against the general opinion? Like for example in social media, or when you got the spotlight for some reason, or during an interview, etc.

    There are some occasions that you need to state your opinion/advice about something that will break rapport with average people.

    What would you do is such cases? What troubles me is that if you go for a neutral opinion even in this cases, you won’t be able to “attract” above average people that otherwise would be gravitated towards you if you shared a more polarizing opinion?

    Makes sense? Cheers.

    • Craig says

      Roberto, you may need to reread the article again… The answer is in the title.

      “Deflect or Agree with Everything”

      (Pointing you to the resource to come to the realisation yourself)

      Roberto, I don’t understand why you couldn’t have done that yourself? That’s the sort of question only regular people ask.

      (Example of a polarising opinion, no one asked for it, it hasn’t helped my social standing in any way, everyone thinks I’m an asshole).

      Logic is for successful people, emotion is for regular people.

      Bonus point: Is this a test?

  16. Axel says

    Good framework for Acting Dumb WSP. I learnt Smile, Nod & Agree the hard way.

    Reminds me of my best friend, showed him your 10 year famework(I’m 25 on year one) and the 10 life skills. His reaction: *Learning skills & reading wont help me, I need to go out more and get laid*

    Same pattern with family and friends abound. Give advice, they disqualify you as they feel they’re better than you.

    Only my younger cousin(21, future winner) takes my advice: we’re both learning Copywriting as we speak.

    I’ll remind my best friend in 6 years about that talent stack…

    • says

      Getting laid is a skill too – I took 2-3 years off just to get good with women

      Even guys who are rich never learn to fully put themselves out there without the ‘money’ social proof, and i think its an invaluable skill as a man

      I may be biased since I used to be a pick up coach

  17. says

    I’d just like to add, maybe contrast to the opinion of the author that I have regular people friends who are caring and loving and give me attention when Im down

    They dont change and they dont strive to improve, but they are there when I need them

    For example, i bet a lot of people in our families are “regular folks”.

  18. RE Guy says

    On appearing clumsy to avoid regular people:

    Step 1: Take Iphone out
    Step 2: Throw Iphone on floor repeatedly till the screen cracks

    Now you have an Iphone that is truly “lifeproof”

  19. says

    Want to avoid people who make you bang your head against the wall? Be your own boss. I’m so much happier not having to deal with workplace politics. Being able to ignore people is a wonderful feeling.

    And for those who comment on my site who disagree with me, I just ask them to explain their reasoning. Usually they won’t, but if they do, then excellent. More power to them.

    Sam

  20. says

    I’m all about being as efficient with my time. I figure you can’t please everybody and I don’t want to waste my energy on people who aren’t open. So most of the time I smile and then move on.

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