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Excuse Me While I Be Contrary!

You’re sitting with a group of people, having an intelligent conversation. It’s a bunch of smart, educated, articulate persons, people who know just what they’re talking about. There’s no shortage of opinions, and thankfully everyone knows how to put forward their views without disrespecting the other person. Everyone can see the perspective of the other person, even when it’s different from theirs and they don’t think that their own thinking is superior to the others.
Except that one person…
That one annoying person who thinks he’s smarter than everyone else; whose opinion is the only one worth listening to; whose argument is the only logical one; whose thinking is the only thinking that is right.
Do you know someone who fits this description?
This human being is often someone who’s not really as smart as he thinks he is, but is oblivious to the fact because he spends so much time in the shade of the big words and phrases that he uses to express his lofty ideals. When he ‘steps into the room’, you can hear frustrated sighs – ‘this one has come again’ – and you can see people rolling their eyes. They just aren’t looking forward to engaging him because the process is just tiring. A lot of the time, people just agree with him because that’s easier than arguing with him. Sometimes, people don’t care enough to correct his not-so-smart opinions or arguments, because it’s nice to watch him look not-so-smart.
Does this person sound familiar yet?
On first ‘contact’, this person actually seems very smart and you could pick up a lesson or two (or three) from him. And because you’re a nice person, you could be gracious and tell him that he’s actually quite sensible and tell others how smart he is. Unfortunately, this person will let it get to his head and over time become that person everyone hopes will keep his opinion to himself even if just once. This person rarely agrees with anybody, because of course, he’s the only one that is right. But when you listen to him closely, once you can get past those big, phony words and phrases that he wraps his idiocy in, you find that he’s not saying anything different from what someone else has already said. He’s only just managed to say it differently and wear everybody out in the process.
This person just likes to be contrary because he thinks it’s cool. He rarely ever starts a conversation, possibly cos he doesn’t have an idea how to start one. But he’s one of the first to pipe up with why what someone said is wrong, or how something doesn’t make sense. And of course, he has the answers. All the answers. On any topic. Now, it would be manageable if he gave short answers or expressed his opinions in shorts bursts. But, nooooo. He has to make long-winded statements and ‘shout’ at the top of his ‘voice’ and he has to have the last word.
Do you have a picture of someone in your head right now?
We meet someone like this in the course of our lives and our reactions are different. Some of us tolerate him and some ignore him. Some try to educate him and some just encourage him with their misguided adulation and foolish awe. As for me, I just ignore him to the best of my ability. After all, there is such a thing as productive conflict. And you never know what you might learn from him – like how not to talk, what not to say, where not to say it, e.t.c.
So, if you know or meet a person like this, put on your patient cap. This person thrives from being contrary, and I suspect it’s because he gets more attention that way. And if you are that person, well you can go ahead and be contrary with this. We get it. The good news is the ecosystem wouldn’t be complete without you. So whether we like it or not, we have to put up with your bullocks.
Shout out if you know someone that is quite contrary…


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