Search This Blog

Oct 12, 2007

How to alienate people and damage relationships: A comprehensive guide for college professors


Relationships with colleagues and with students are the least important asset you have, so why not take some time to diminish it? There is no easy way of ruining your relationships, because people tend to be forgiving, and generally avoid conflict. They will give you a long time and overlook your efforts. Besides, you probably have a great deal of likable traits which can outweigh your poor relationship skills, at least in the beginning. Be persistent; many small offenses will accumulate over the years, and eventually you will reach a point when almost everyone will hear your name, roll one’s eyes and say, “Oh, this person.” Poor reputations take years to build.

Dealing with Authority

When you talk to students or staff, always emphasize rank and assume the air of superiority. You can do it by ignoring their suggestions, by patronizing them, and by making it clear you are in charge. Do not allow them question your decisions, and perceive any doubt as a direct challenge to your authority and a personal affront.

Emphasize other forms of authority you may have over other people. For example, if you’re talking with people not from your field, make sure to mention that by definition, you know more than they do.

Flaunt your special expertise whenever you can. Bring it up in any conversation, even if not called for.

When talking to someone with a higher rank and more experience, make sure to ignore the rank. Send a message that you know it all already simply because you do. Always challenge the other person’s knowledge and judgment.

Dealing with mistakes

Whenever possible, point out people’s mistakes, just for the record. Find a way of reminding everyone around you about other people’s mistakes, especially to the offending individual. Imply incompetence s a reason for every mistake.

Whenever you make a mistake, make sure it is traceable to someone else’s mistakes. Remember, it is never your fault. Never acknowledge or remember your own mistakes, never refer to them.

When your mistake is made known to authorities, find out how the information got through, and make sure this does not happen again.

People skills

Nothing alienates people more than yelling at them. Do it often, with or without a reason. Let them know how frustrated you are at their lack of competence, of intelligence, and their ethical flaws.

See the intrigue everywhere. Any negative comment or unexplained action is but an element in a complex chain of intrigue. They are out there to get you.

Select someone as an object of intense dislike, and make everyone know about it. Give the most irrational reasons for dislike you can come up with. This not only will put an end to your relationship with the person in question, but will also damage your relationships with everyone. No one wants to be a partner in hate, so your friends will eventually turn away from you, too.

Write long, angry e-mails about any disagreement. Always CC the Dean, the entire department, and everyone’s brother.

The art of the argument

Never change your opinion. If you mentioned something, however briefly, it is now your position and you should stick to it. Whatever else other people say, no matter how reasonable, simply stick to your guns. Remember, you cannot ever agree if you previously disagreed. Compromise can save deteriorating relationships, so avoid it at all cost.

If you have certain experiences, or qualifications, use them as arguments sufficient on their own merit. The logic is like this: 1. I know more about A. 2. We are talking about A. 3. Therefore, all my opinions are more valid than yours.

Do not engage in substantive discussion; imply that your opponent wouldn’t understand.

Give non-replies. Just dismiss your opponent’s arguments with a quick come-back that has nothing to do with the essence of your conversation. Remember, replying is more important than figuring out a sensible position.

Always have the last word. One-upmanship is an excellent tool and works every time.

Interpret differences of opinions as a clear sign that other people are wrong.

Imply ill intentions: if people disagree with you, it is because they are either (a) stupid, or (b) evil.


Never reflect on your relationship skills. Don’t worry about it, don’t think about it, don’t discuss with anyone. You’ve got a doctoral degree, so you’re perfect already. There is nothing else to learn, especially about such silly things as getting along with other people. People get pissed at you only because they are really bad persons; it may never have anything to do with you. Only idiots actually worry about an impression they make on other people. Smart people are smart all around. The end.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous6:51 PM

    Aren't college profs smart enough to know what goes around, comes around?