Behind a cut for this dude’s gross, racist opinions.
Situation: I’m a white lesbian who’s roommates with a white straight guy who is also a friend and coworker.
Problem: He keeps talking about his penis.
You see, his penis has likes and dislikes, and its preferences have a LOT to say about western civilization and human nature. He will tell me at length he does not like overweight women or black women or “dominant” women, and he also has a lot of theories about men and masculinity and “dominance” he enjoys expounding on. You know what they are. Perhaps unsurprisingly, his (thin white “traditional”
girlfriend) dumped him because he kept sexting “BBBW” asking for “punishment.”
He’s on a business trip. When he returns, I anticipate more theorizing about the supremacy of the white male, lying about what he did to get dumped and posturing based on that, and more than a little pressure on me to be her friend and convince her to take him back. Once he accepts she won’t, he’ll foray back into dating and have MORE theories about women and men to share.
I don’t want to listen to or deal with any of that. I don’t want to have to think of things to say. I’m not interested in being friends with his ex, and I’m certainly not going to woo her back for him. I don’t want to call him out for being a sexist, racist douche or educate him on how not to be a racist, sexist douche. I hate arguments and loathe “debating.” I don’t want to therapy him through how his worldview doesn’t gel with his true sexual preferences, or deal with his embarrassment should he realize I’ve seen the texts. I don’t want to piss him off or deal with drunk tears. I want him to shhh and move along to things like bitching about work and eating wings and being snobby about beer and watching trashy tv.
I’m looking for neutral conversation-enders or ways to change the subject back to the things that made us friends to begin with. I’ve been using things like “huh” + subject change; some of the other scripts I’ve found on your website like “why would you say that” and “wow, you really said that” and “i don’t get it, explain” [+ make him
repeat himself until he’s embarrassed] do not work. Phrases like that just make him think he’s having a real conversation and I just end up hearing more. Unfortunately, “huh” + subject change isn’t going to work for this, because in this case it’s important enough to him and he’s upset enough that he’ll keep dragging the topic back around.
So far, I have a dozen variations on “get a real therapist.” I also have “be out of the apartment on the weekends” and “forget to turn my phone ringer volume up” and “be asleep when he comes home.” There are mobility and financial reasons “moving out immediately” is not on that list.
Not Cesario (she/hers)
Dear Not Cesario:
You asked for “neutral” conversation enders but I think your best strategy (in addition to being home less and other evasive actions) is to get less neutral and more direct, like, “Hey, sorry you’re upset, but I’m not at home for feelingstalk today.“
When he brings up the topic of his broken heart, change the subject:
“Huh, that’s upsetting. I’m gonna order some food, do you want anything?”
“Weird. Don’t forget, it’s trash day tomorrow.”
“That’s racist, and gross. Why are you telling me this? No, don’t answer that. Let’s just get the kitchen clean.”
And if (when) that doesn’t work, say: “Hey, did you notice me changing the subject? I’m not really here for conversations about WOMEN and DOMINANCE today.”
Him: “Well, why didn’t you tell me in the first place?”
You: “I’m telling you now?”
See also: “I can’t be the patient listening friend right now, sorry, but let me know if you need a ‘watch trash TV/drink beer/distracting you friend.'”
“Your sex and love life are your own business, man.”
See also: When you’re happily watching trash TV later and he brings up the topic again, use it as time to go do laundry or go to bed or otherwise leave the room. “Oops, I know it’s still on your mind, but I’m still not up for talking about this.” And if you need to, it’s okay to interrupt him. We’re taught that interrupting people is rude and we should never do it, but there are honestly so many times in life that we should do it. “Hey, let me stop you there – I really don’t have the focus/bandwidth/interest/attention span/emotional resilience/headspace/patience to have deep conversations tonight. Maybe write it all down and get it out of your system some other way?”
The thing where he wants you to help him woo his ex back? Try: “Nope, you should talk to her directly, I want nothing to do with it.”
And if he says “But you listened to me talk about this stuff before!!!!” you can say “I did, and now I’ve decided I don’t want to.” Or “Yep, and then I reached my limit, so, I’m letting you know so you can talk that stuff over with someone who will give you their full attention.”
Hints don’t work. Just tell him, “Hey, my sympathies bro, but I’m not up to be a sounding board today.” He won’t like it, and he’ll probably sulk a bit, but eventually he will calm down the “Ugh, why would you tell me that” chat if he wants your company.