Begging for insults?

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by AQ808, Jan 31, 2012.

  1. AQ808

    AQ808 Member

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    After seeing the thread about backhanded compliments, I was immediately reminded of a similar situation I had with a former friend but somewhat reversed.

    I'd go over and hang out and he would always suggest that I play guitars with him, which wasn't really enjoyable for me at all because while he had no clue how to play the instrument, he was utterly convinced that he was keenly capable of expressing himself on it "as an artist".

    I would just do my best Ornette Coleman inspired freakout session, trying my best to listen and respond musically.

    He would then go on in kind of a guarded way about how I was the only unique guitar player he had heard in the city..... aside from himself. :bonk

    I'm not someone who fishes for compliments about my playing and I really don't like to hear it at all since I do think it is my personal responsibility to treat it as a craft because I truly care about music.

    Well, then he plays this psychological game by saying, "Man... maybe I suck, I really suck at this," looking at me as if I should say something.

    Well, as a matter of fact... he does suck! Every time he picks up a guitar he does the equivalent of taking a crap in the middle of the living room floor! Even after he finally gets tired after 15 minutes and stops playing, the stench remains tangible in the air for minutes afterwards!

    My take is that he wanted me to say that he stunk, so that it would give him the kindling necessary to angrily shed for awhile until he could one day triumphantly return to prove me, his anointed musical authority figure, wrong with his amazing ability.

    But, I immediately sniffed out that he was trolling me to troll him!

    So I said something along the lines of, "everybody thinks that about themself".

    On one hand, maybe I should have told him that he did indeed suck because it would have caused him to improve, albeit through this hateful unfulfilling way he envisions of eventually showing me up.

    On the other hand, maybe I should have complimented him and allowed him to bask in his own awfulness with my personal approval, which would completely cement his development into his current wretched state for possibly the rest of his life.

    I don't give out compliments and criticisms because I believe in a person achieving self-awareness on their own, instead of them creating their identity based on how others perceive them. I also don't believe in not being genuine, so I really couldn't flat out compliment him, but I'm fine with deflecting the question altogether.

    As a friendship though, the whole thing broke down soon after as it was clear he wanted me to take one of those two paths with him, and he must have been dealing with some bizarre "daddy" issues.

    And, I really don't like when somebody trolls me to troll them.

    Feel free to share a similar story, or situations where someone begged you to troll them, or basically begged for a backhanded compliment. I imagine plenty of guitar instructors deal with a similar situation weekly.
     
  2. wolfman63

    wolfman63 Member

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    Nobody truly knows the full extent of their own talent (or lack there of) without listening to themselves on a recording, prior to the "autopsy." If I hear talent, I say so.....if on the other hand I hear something resembling a foul odor, I remain silent. Much as I love music, it's not worth getting Medevil over. I've known guys like the one you mention, and far as I know, there is no correct way to tactfully respond. Just smile inwardly and think quietly to yourself, "What a moron!"
     
  3. CowTipton

    CowTipton Silver Supporting Member

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    You must be some sort of psychiatrist to have diagnosed this guy so thoroughly.
    I have no such patience. (nearly a pun)
     
  4. jerrycampbell

    jerrycampbell Silver Supporting Member

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    My buddy's ex had similar issues, I think. Not exactly the same as your friend, though.
    I'm a professional painter, she's an amateur painter. She would beg for compliments (I would offer sincere encouragements- "Yeah, you've got something happening here, keep working", etc.). She would respond, "Really? REALLY?". Me: "Sure. Keep at it". She: "Oh, but I suck. I'm terrible". "You're not terrible. Work at it!" "Really? REALLY?" And on and on, over and over. I got drawn into this a couple of times before I began to recognize it and avoid it.
     
  5. hp29

    hp29 Member

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    In situations like that, use the backhanded compliment thread for all it's worth.

    Examples
    Them: "I suck at playing guitar"
    You: "Yeah but I bet you'd be a much worse drummer"

    Them: "I wish I could sing as good as (insert name)"
    You: "Me too"

    Say it with a friendly smile to add confusion.
     
  6. AQ808

    AQ808 Member

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    I agree with that, as I try to apply the same critical ear to my playing that I do to every album I've ever listened to, by recording and listening, which has naturally made me improve.

    This guy however, while also recording himself often, apparently had no critical ear whatsoever.

    I got the impression that he really didn't love music though. At most he was listening to classic rock on the radio.

    I was over there once and he said "check out what I bought yesterday"... it was two vinyls, Jimi Hendrix's "Are You Experienced" and a Lynyrd Skynyrd "hits". I said, "Very cool, let's throw Hendrix on the turntable".

    "...Oh... I don't have a turntable, I just thought they'd be cool to have laying around".

    ?????!!!!!

    I saw no evidence that he was actually interested in exploring music, but he was all about wanting to perform on stage, look cool doing it, and that he could tell his dad about it later that he played on stage in a bar (his words).

    This was 2 years ago and he was around 23 at the time.
     
  7. AQ808

    AQ808 Member

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    It's difficult. I'm a natural observer, and it really doesn't take me long to figure out how 99% of the people I meet think and operate. The vast majority of people in the US hold stereotypical ideals which directly cause them to behave predictably.

    The rest are either truly unpredictably crazy or truly intelligent... which is a very fine line... and I can never tell the difference until I've seen how they actually behave over a few weeks time. This is a bit of a problem because crazy people have a way of unexpectedly turning on me, or creating bad situations. Intelligent people usually have a high level method/organizing principle, though are more fluid or abstract in their reasoning.

    I took a few psychology courses because I wanted to get a better grasp of this natural ability I lived with, and the one thing it allowed me to understand is the difference between people with disorders because of drug abuse, and those with natural brain chemistry disorders.
     
  8. Fred Farkus

    Fred Farkus Gold Supporting Member

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  9. Jet Age Eric

    Jet Age Eric Member

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    :rotflmao-E
     
  10. Jet Age Eric

    Jet Age Eric Member

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    You should be fighting crime!

    Oh, wait; looks like you already are. :p -E
     
  11. guitarz1972

    guitarz1972 Member

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    First of all, full disclaimer: I'm not a licensed therapist, I don't wear tan pants or Hawaiian shirts for my bar gigs and I don't have a PRS.

    Ok, so having said all that you need to seriously evaluate the extent of your friendship with this joker and how much you want to choose to hang out with him. Whether you've corrected "analyzed" him or not, sounds like his behavior's pretty toxic to you. Seems like he's seeking approval (in which case he's a bit needy), or he's being manipulative of you and your ability to play guitar (like he wants to use your guitar-playing for something he's wanting to do). Either way, and intentionally behaving badly or not, he's not really looking out for you. Maybe he's a cool guy and all that, and if so then continue with the bromance if you want to. But I can tell you, I've had "friends" like this in the past, and they'll just dangle onto you and act like they're seeking affirmation and "trying to be a genuine artist" for as long as you let them. Eventually you just have to decide if you're okay with that or if you've had enough and need to move on.

    Please see my receptionist with your insurance card on your way out.
     
  12. chucke99

    chucke99 Member

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    One of my best friends in college thought (and probably still thinks) he could play the drums. He had decent chops, but tended to add a few extra beats to every big roundhouse fill he'd do. When we jammed it was mostly just him on drums and me on guitar, and I got used to waiting for him to complete the measure. Hence, we sounded awesome to his ears.

    When he'd ask how we played, I'd tel l him the truth: We were awesome. Sometimes that's what best friends tell each other. He was never going to be a pro drummer, and back then, I was still years away from having the chops to play live. He wasn't my friend because he was a drummer, nor was I his because I played guitar.
     
  13. DRS

    DRS Member

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    Now Chucke99 is a friend. The OP?
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2012
  14. jerrycampbell

    jerrycampbell Silver Supporting Member

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    Nicely put.
     
  15. whiteop

    whiteop Senior Member

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    As an armchair psychologist at my job (which requires that I profile people on a daily basis to make decisions) I can say this is spot on. People "learned" how they were "supposed" to act and react to different situations by watching how other people act, both onscreen (TV) and off and it had a huge impact on their personality development and the type traits they exhibit. In other words they are mainly copycats for the most part; its all they know. I think it's one of the primary reasons an "emo" type personality has evolved from watching actors over-dramatizing their emotions on-screen. Just my opinion from 2 decades of profiling and observing people in a professional capacity not that it means anything.
     
  16. whiteop

    whiteop Senior Member

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    As an armchair psychologist at my job (which requires that I profile people on a daily basis to make decisions) I agree with this too. People "learned" how they were "supposed" to act and react to different situations by watching how other people act, both onscreen (TV) and off and it had a huge impact on their personality development and the type traits they exhibit. In other words they are mainly copycats for the most part; its all they know. I think it's on f the primary reasons an "emo" type personality has evolved from watching actors over-dramatizing their emotions on-screen. Just my opinion from 2 decades of profiling and observing people in a professional capacity not that it means anything.
     
  17. chucke99

    chucke99 Member

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    Life is funny, or sad. I just got a friend request on FaceBook from this old friend's wife, but didn't see him listed as husband on her profile. Some quick searching on the web revealed he died about four years ago. R.I.P. Eddie Boy Stokes, of the legendary Waterbury, CT Stokes clan.

    :band
     
  18. wolfman63

    wolfman63 Member

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    Try running this guy's guitar signal thru a noise gate and see if you can still hear him.
     

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