Do you really need to have the last word?

Do you really need to have the last word?

Perhaps if you don’t improve the silence, you shouldn’t open your maw.

We all know this person. Whether he or she is the relative you dread, the family friend who knows everything, or the mommy at the playground who thinks you’re an idiot and tries to get every other mom on her side, too, it’s the person who just has to have the last word.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve proven yourself to be correct; he or she will just sniff and say, “That’s a questionable source,” or “That’s disputable,” or even, “Well, I guess you know everything!” You take to tiptoeing around this person to avoid trouble, sticking to subjects like the weather—which is even tricky now that we have so many record temperatures—or your clothes or anything else that might not make this person start spewing their righteous blather.

The thing is, you really can’t avoid it because he or she is probably already planning on bringing up some new thing to dumbfound you—and everyone else with—for attention. It will be something they saw Jesse Ventura mention, for example (my uncle loves to talk about “Obama death camps”), or something Fox News had on that they’ve decided is pure gold. And it doesn’t matter what you say; not only will you not change their mind, you will also not satisfy them with your “Let’s agree to disagree” or your rationalized arguments with evidence. They will not be happy until you say these words exactly: “You’re right and I’m wrong.”

This silliness is insanely petty and features a grade-school mentality that a first grader could surpass, but unfortunately there are plenty of people who simply think this way. So what do you do to still enjoy your day (or even your holiday) while not fighting and getting angry over a person who wants to convert you to their religion, politics, or even news station?

Honestly, I don’t have the answer. So far I’ve unfortunately resorted to rudeness, such as dining in another room or making an excuse to have to attend to something or another—another relative to visit, an appointment, whatever—rather than have to stomach such company. I’ve tried discussions and humor before, but those haven’t seemed to work with most people. (With some, it worked after a bit of tension and apprehensive “not my friend anymore!” type feelings) I’d rather not do this, but what alternatives are there to an all-out war with such persons?