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The great housemate dishwashing conversation

It's difficult to have a peaceful adult conversation with somebody about doing the washing-up in the kitchen. Impossible, maybe.

There are really only three likelihoods in the response: denial, defiance, and agreement without action.

• Denial is based upon the fact that one believes he* doesn't use the kitchen much, and doesn't make a mess that he needs to clean up. It's a fallacy, a belief based upon preference.

• Defiance is understandable. The implication is that "you're asking me to do something that as an adult I should already know to do." And that's true. And nobody wants to hear that — nor even the hint of it.

  [And here's where you get disgusted because you have to be diplomatic] — you have to make a grown human being feel like one.

• Agreement without action is almost always the best possible response, because at least it's peaceful. It's useless, but not spiteful nor ignorant.

There is a fourth potential response, of course — but its likelihood is infinitesimal. It's possible that the listener will accept the critique and alter his or her behavior.

I've never seen that.


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My use of the pronoun "he" is unfair, except that as a generalization it's better than most.

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