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Communication Skills/Insulting comments from friend


Mr Gerlach,

I have a friend who is extremely argumentative, and it is starting to make me question having him as a friend.  His response to anything anyone says is always negative and he always disagrees, and questions everything he hears, no matter how trivial.  But the worst of it is when he makes the statement, "That's what YOU say", which really irritates me.  I feel it is an insult to my intelligence.  Even when I have told him how much it bothers me he argues that I shouldn't feel that way, which irritates me further.  He seems to think he is always right, and if anyone disagrees with him it's 'their' problem.  

Can people get into a habit of negativity?  He didn't used to be this way, but my patience is wearing very thin.  Am I being too sensitive about this?  I am getting too old for this kind of aggravation.  I welcome any thoughts you may have.  

Thank you.

Hi Gary - you have a right to your feelings:

I suspect that your friend is unaware of being ruled by an insecure "false self"

Choose from any of these communication strategies that apply:

In particular, use respectful "I-message" assertions and empathic listening: /

Further questions are welcome - Pete  

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Peter Gerlach, MSW


I can answer questions about how to significantly improve your thinking and communication effectiveness, and your relations with adults and kids. I cannot answer legal, medical, grammar, punctuation, spelling, or spiritual questions.


I have studied and taught communication and relationship skills for 40 years, and have been a professional family-systems therapist (MSW) since 1981.


I am a past Board member of (a) a large suburban community mental-health center and (b) the Stepfamily Association of America, and I am a current member of the National Stepfamily Resource Center (NSRC) Experts Council

I have published 6 books, including one on communication skills: Satisfactions ( 2nd ed., 2010); and over 150 articles in the nonprofit educational Website Break the Cycle! -

I have also published articles for and over 150 educational YouTube videos.

BSME, Stanford University, 1959 MSW, George Williams College 1981 Clinical internship U. of Illinois Institute for Juvenile Reasearch (IJR) 1981 Over 100 post-grad courses on a wide range of human-relationship topics

Past/Present Clients
over 1,000 self-referred Midwestern-U.S. adults, kids, couples, and families

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