The One Response That Immediately Shuts Down People Who Deflect Your Questions

Don't waste your time trying to get deflectors to own up to their behavior. Instead, leave them dumbfounded with your response.

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If you’ve every had a conversation with a person that likes to deflect blame, you know how annoying it can be. Nothing is more frustrated than getting up the nerve to share your feelings, only to have people deflect, invalidating them and failing to take accountability.

What is deflective behavior?

Deflection is a defense mechanism that people use so they don’t feel bad or to dodge responsibility for something they said or did. It avoids blame or criticism by shifting the focus to something or someone else.


Instead of being accountable for any misdeeds, deflectors engage in "whataboutism," pointing out the flaws of others instead of acknowledging their own.

When people exhibit deflective behavior, instead of paying attention to someone’s concerns or thoughts as they would in a healthy relationship, they protect themselves from guilt or pain by shifting blame.

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There are many ways to deflect: minimizing the situation by claiming others are making too big a deal, making accusations, forming a guilt complex by pretending words have hurt you, suggesting others should accept toxic behavior, or finding a way to place the blame for what others did on your own shoulders.

Luckily, there is a method to shut down people who deflect.

Here’s how to argue with someone who deflects.

When someone distorts the reality of a situation so they don’t face the consequences, it can be upsetting to those they’ve wronged. But there are effective ways to "argue" with a deflector that can help you get through a trying conversation.

TikToker and lawyer Jefferson Fisher shared a video detailing the right way to address someone who has deflective behavior.




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Fisher started by explaining why we deflect, and that it sometimes starts in childhood. “Any time we feel a negative message coming our way, we look to reassign it anywhere else but ourselves,” he says. According to Fisher, people that do it aren’t even aware sometimes.

Fisher then reveals how to argue with someone who deflects: repeat what you just said right back to them.


This method is to be used after making your point and noticing deflection in progress. If the other person happens to deflect again, simply repeat your point back to them once more at a much slower pace.

Per Fisher, this process is called "objection, non-responsive" when used in cross examination. It means that the witness is not responding to the question being asked, and the lawyer asks the court to make them respond.

By staying on the point at hand, you tell the deflecting party that no matter where they try to divert your attention, you are focused and need an answer.

Fisher also offers an alternative. If the repeating process is not giving you the results you want, he suggests allowing the person to take a break to think about how they want to respond.


However, if you do that, you have to let them know that, when you return, the subject will be the same and they will need to formulate a response.

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NyRee Ausler is a writer from Seattle, Washington, who specializes in content about self-care, self-love, interpersonal relationships, and personalities. She strives to deliver informative and entertaining news you can use to help navigate life.