Welcome to the second-last article in our six-part series on “When Good Guests Go Bad.” Unfortunately, at every gathering there always seems to be one person who has an opinion on everything, and even when they’re wrong they’re right! These are the kind of guests who bring up topics just to argue them, and if there is nothing to argue they will conjur something out of thin air. Not only do they create uncomfortable situations at every turn, they also tend to offend people, or at the very least make your other guests feel uncomfortable.
A prime example of The Can’t Be Wrong scenario comes from a good friend of mine, who entertains with her family often. Her brother’s wife and her husband are both very opinionated people. The like rival sports teams, have completely opposite political views on everything from mayoral elections to environmental issues – the sister-in-law has even expressed a hatred toward the family’s small home town. Tricky!
The sad truth is that not everyone has the common ability to sense when a topic of conversation is about to tread on dangerous ground, or when they are discussing something with more meaning than mere conversation to the other person in the conversation. This does not mean the “Can’t Be Wrong” is a bad person – in fact, it’s probably the opposite – they are usually very caring and nice, except when their conversations stumble onto certain topics. The most common topics for The Can’t Be Wrong to bring up, and relentlessly continue are:
And you can bet that their position will not waiver when faced with a different opinion. With these topics off-limits, how can one possibly have a conversation with The Can’t Be Wrong? The truth is, after a time, most stop trying, but that usually does not stop The Can’t Be Wrong. Sadly, our more laid-back guests will usually not step up and tell the Can’t Be Wrong how wrong they are – they will usually find an excuse to leave, or decline the next invitation offered. How can we Hosts On The Run deal with someone like The Can’t-Be-Wrong?
1. Don’t Invite Them
Of course, this is the most ideal answer in the first place. But what if the Can’t Be Wrong is the spouse of a close friend or loved one, or your own family?
2. Keep an ear peeled and change the subject frequently
Usually, the Can’t Be Wrong will begin to show his true colors when in a one-on-one conversation. Keep an eye on the Can’t Be Wrong, and after about 3 minutes of conversation with one of your guests, go join them. Offer drinks, or sit down and change the subject before it gets heated and feelings get hurt.
3. Assign your crisis companion to “babysit”
Oh, it’s sad but true, sometimes you must have someone follow the Can’t Be Wrong around just to make sure that the conversations don’t trip into dangerous territory.
4. Discuss the issue with a mutual third party
Employing a mutual family member or friend to “drop a hint” to the Can’t Be Wrong to cool it when things get steamy, or even after your party all together is another way to deal with this difficult issue. Chances are you already know who could speak to the Can’t Be Wrong without it COMING OUT all wrong.
5. Speak to the Can’t Be Wrong yourself
Before the party, call the Can’t Be Wrong and explain to them that you understand their strong views and opinions are part of their personality, but you would prefer if, for the span of your get-together, they avoid the topics that seem to get blood boiling. This could end one of two ways. First, the Can’t Be Wrong will take your wishes to heart and be a positively delightful guest. OR, they could get totally offended and decide not to come all together. Either way, you have done everything you can.
6. If none of these work and you’re still obligated to have The Can’t Be Wrong at your gathering, give your other guests a heads-up about the Can’t Be Wrong so they won’t take it personally when the Can’t Be Wrong insults their mother.
The Can’t Be Wrong is seriously tricky, but if you have to deal with them, good luck! There’s only one Guest Gone Wrong left to explore – The Destructo-Guest, and we’ll look at this hurricane of a personality next!
View the previous articles and their accompanying videos here: