A few weeks ago I wrote a post about a young guy working in my local fruit shop whose live-in girlfriend was nagging him to do the dishes all the time. As I didn’t feel it was my place to tell him to dump her ass, I pointed out how he does do stuff around the home, which in his case was taking care of the garden.
On Friday I saw him again and I casually inquired how it was going. He seemed a bit embarrassed and he shook his head and mumbled something. As it turned out he had lost the battle on two key points that she had brought up.
- Gardening wasn’t a chore as he did that for fun.
- Even if it was a chore it still wouldn’t be worth as many points as cleaning inside the house.
I commiserated with him on his painful loss and I continued my shopping. To get even more involved would have meant investing myself in his problems, and some battles a man has to man-up and fight alone. But I felt it of interest to post here as to what would have been the best counter-argument to her in this situation.
(Side-note – Yes, I know that the best rebuttal is to dump her like a sack of potatoes. But leaving that aside, her counterarguments are ones that come up often and it is wise to understand how to deal with them.)
Her first point is the old classic bait and switch. She fluidly changed the original argument from one of ‘who does what’ into ‘what is a chore and what isn’t a chore’. She also then delivered the knock-out blow of labeling gardening as a non-chore activity. I have no doubt that our young friend fell for the bait. He would have begun defending gardening as being a chore while she stood there with her arms folded in stern judgement.
There are a few methods to deal with this tactic. You can swat it away quite casually by reaffirming the original argument and not falling for the strawman. Another tactic is to challenge the other party to swap for a period of time if she thinks it’s so much fun. I myself don’t like this, however as it gives legitimacy to their tactic.
As for her second point, well, all I can say there is what I posted last week on the art of keeping score. And the only counter for that is the potato sack dumping.
I feel for the poor lad. But one thing I have learnt over many bitter years is that you cannot tell a guy what to do when he’s in this fix. He will never ever listen to you and he will resent you trying to interfere. All you can do is be around to help him put himself back together again.