Food for Thought-The Idiot’s Guide to Dealing with Idiots (Updated)



1. Realize you’re dealing with an idiot or idiots. Whatever expectations you might have about your encounter with the given idiot should immediately be lowered. Remember, this is an idiot you’re talking to. They may be prepared to go to great lengths to argue the greenness of the sky or the blueness of the grass. If you have an expectation of changing their idiotic minds, it’s probably not going to happen. People who’ve bought into absurdity will invest themselves wholly in the idiocy which defines their positions. Don’t expect too much.

2. How much of your time are you prepared to waste on a hopeless cause? When dealing with idiots set boundaries; lines you are not prepared to cross. The most important boundary you can set is “time”. Don’t spend all day arguing or hanging out with idiots. Non-idiots are infused with a sense of hopeful optimism which often leads us to believe that if given enough time, we can “get through” to the idiots in question. We can’t. No amount of shouting, YouTube videos, or PowerPoint presentations will convince the most committed idiot. Idiots will suck time away people and things we value most. Don’t let them do it.

3. Limit the information you give to the idiot. Idiots like to take facts and twist them to suit their idiotic ideas. When dealing with idiots, do more listening than speaking. Idiots are always prepared to dominate a conversation. Idiots are always more interested in talking to you than hearing what you have to say. When you speak, talk about things that can’t be brought back or twisted by the idiot. Let them talk, listen actively, and try to keep your responses to one word answers.

4. You can’t take idiots personally. Idiots are usually shallow people. The depths of their arguments and ideas can be seen in the first few minutes of your encounter. They are there for the moment, the shock, and the drug like thrill of their idiocy. Don’t take the idiot home with you! It’s not worth it.  The idiot would love to come home with you in your backpack, briefcase, luggage, or car.  You have the choice whether to make permanent room for their idiocy in your life or move on.

5. Idiots are unable to take social cues. Forget looking at your watch or clearing your throat, idiots won’t pick up the hint.  When you’ve been trapped by an idiot, words like, “Well, I better be heading off now,” go in one ear and out the others.  This social deafness isn’t unique to idiots but it is certainly more pronounced.  Idiots are unaware of the obligations, constraints, and responsibilities of others.   In idiot-land, their self-deluded pronouncements about upcoming sporting events or “the weather” trump your need for milk from the store or how you’re coping with the recent loss of a loved one.

6. Idiots don’t know they are idiots. Idiots lack the self-awareness needed to understand how much of idiot they are.  The thought, “might the words coming from my mouth be dripping with slow-marinated idiocy,” never crosses their minds.  Idiots don’t realize how they sound or how they might be perceived.  In the realm of the idiot, obliviousness is the air that fuels the idiot fire.  If you’ve ever considered, “might I be an idiot at this moment?”, you’re probably not an idiot.

7.  When in conversation, idiots will believe you to be ignorant of the facts they are trying to impart.  Even if you wrote two books on the subject in question, received a Nobel Prize for your work on the same subject, and are widely regarded as an expert; the idiot knows more than you do.  The idiot assumes you know nothing.  Conversations with idiots are more like lectures or one-sided shouting matches.  Again, it’s helpful to simply resist the urge to engage with the idiocy on display. Nod, (think of it as an affirmation of their idiot status), agree demurely, and be on your merry way.

8. Idiots can’t appreciate context.  This links back to their lack of self-awareness.  Here’s what I mean:  their idiocy is always on display.  Because idiots lack the ability to know they are idiots, they are also unable to pause or stop their idiocy when others are no longer willing to tolerate their idiocy.  For instance, at funerals, public functions, church, weddings, and other important social occasions most people understand the need to not be an idiot (for that period of time).  Ironically, these situations seem to exacerbate the idiocy of most idiots.  The world is truly their idiot oyster.

9.  While idiots cannot spot the idiocy within themselves,  idiots are quick to call the rational and normal behavior of other human beings idiotic.  People who think clearly, weigh multiple options, and exercise a degree of caution in daily life present the idiots among us with great challenges.  Idiots want others to agree with their twisted validations and senseless ramblings.  If we don’t agree with them, we become the idiots.

10.  It is OK to be an idiot in the eyes of an idiot.  If you’ve ever been called an idiot by someone who is an idiot, you’re probably not an idiot.