How To Trash Talk Like A Pro

2009 November 18

Where’s the ghost of Dorothy Parker when you need her? It seems silly that I feel compelled to cover this as a PSA, but apparently there are people out there who really do need to be schooled in how to trash talk with √©lan. And being on the receiving end of their ill-timed, poorly-phrased or overly loud spewing forth is rather an awkward situation to find yourself in (Dear Abby and Emily Post would surely agree).

So, for when all the WTF? eyebrows raises in the world don’t seem to get the OMG, you need to not do this right here right now point across and forcefully clamping your hand over their mouth in a bid to shut them up is a little too intimate a gesture, you can simply slip the neophyte badmouther in your life this handy list.

3680516424_6a27d1b70fPhoto by Tebbek

How to Trash Talk Like A Pro

  • Choose your venting partner wisely. Start out with generic kvetching to see how they react (knowing nodding vs. scandalized side eye). Pull back if they seem uninterested or aghast. If they start agreeing vocally or interject their own bitchy asides, you’ve got the green light.
  • Maintain trash talking parity in the interests of mutual implication. Don’t hog the conversation. If you’re both venting your spleens, there’s a lower likelihood of the other party ratting out your uncharitable rant at some future juncture.
  • As a corollary to the above, keep the trash talking focused on how a given situation or person affects you vs. running through an itemized list of the failings, flaws and general douchery of your boss, ex-girlfriend or brother-in-law. Tread lightly where social slander is concerned.
  • Nothing in writing ever. Not in email, on Facebook, Twitter, IM, etc. This should really go without saying.
  • Unless you’re talking about famous people or those at least three states removed, skip actual names.
  • Use your indoor voice. Actually, use your trying not to wake Mom and Dad up as you sneak downstairs on Christmas morning voice. The walls, sidewalks and adjacent restaurant tables have ears. This is the same reason you should choose your venue with care.
  • Guilt is your enemy. Own the vitriol.

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