I'd prefer a smaller portion of bullshit, please.
January 10, 2015 7:22 PM   Subscribe

How should I get this guy to stop sharing the part of his new agey stuff that doesn't interest me without cutting him off?

Here's some background:

I'm a traveler, and for the last few months I've been exchanging work for accommodation at an inn in a small coastal city of Brasil.

A few weeks ago, this foreigner old hippy arrived from a very alternative town, looking for a place to live in this city. The owner of the inn allowed him to stay for a few nights for free while he found a house.

He's an astrologer. I'm a chaos magician who very cautiously uses astrology, as I have some mixed feelings about it. I felt pity for him, being as broke as I have been, so I agreed to let him do my astral chart. He seemed fascinated by my story (like if he never met a trans person before) and centered his reading about that. I want fascinated with his reading. Nevertheless, I am interested in talks about astrology and Tarot.

The problem is, he always rambles about conspiracies, the illuminatti, Jesus on a spaceship and pseudo scientific new agey stuff that... not only falls outside of my choice of new age beliefs, but I also find it extremely irritating. And whenever I see him he wants to lend me some print out about him.

As a chaos magician I like to work with things I can believe in, but there is no way for me to believe there's a spaceship hidden behind a comet that turned into a black hole and stuff life that.

I don't want to offend him for his beliefs, I just want him to stop sharing some of them with me.
posted by Promethea to Human Relations (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
He sounds a little like everyone's uncle at Thanksgiving who kindly offers to help you change your tire and while there spouts right wing and racist conspiracist theories. That kind of person is a difficult to redirect (and someone who similarly rambles about conspiracies, the Illuminati, etc. is unlikely to be any easier).

Stop talking to him. He's going to be finding a house in a couple of days, right? When you're not working find excuses to be out of the Inn, and then head back to your room when you are back there.
posted by arnicae at 7:31 PM on January 10, 2015 [4 favorites]

(Chaos Magic )

So, you want something from him (his talks about astrology and Tarot), but you're not willing to listen to his beliefs on other things..

Do him a favor and stop talking to him...
posted by HuronBob at 7:43 PM on January 10, 2015 [24 favorites]

Here's three options for you:

1. Stop talking to him as much as possible. Make polite excuses when he tries to talk, move elsewhere where he can't follow you.

2. Continue talking with him but every time he goes off on a tangent that you are uninterested in, disengage, and then steer the conversation back to topics you want to talk about.

Him: UFOs are star being from the fifth dimension.
You: Huh, interesting. You know, I thought it was really interesting that you turned over the hanged man while reading me - how do you think that ...

3. Recognize that both of you are interested in and practice unprovable outsider beliefs and that part of the cost of discussing such things is hearing things you're uninterested in but listen anyway and try to learn something. He's likely uninterested in some of what you have to say as well.
posted by Candleman at 8:21 PM on January 10, 2015 [10 favorites]

You can't compartmentalize his thoughts or what he chooses to engage you on. You can't accept some of his sort-of-out-there beliefs (astral charts? okay) and then expect to draw some line that you understand but he doesn't. I'm sorry, but you are a "chaos magician" living in a coastal city in Brazil in the sort of place that lets foreign, broke new age travelers just stay there for free. If you aren't going to embrace meeting weirdos, then go stay in a paid hotel with westerners on holiday. If you don't like the weirdos you meet, don't talk to them. You should just avoid this guy. You got your reading and now there's no real reason for you to put up with his rants anymore.
posted by AppleTurnover at 8:35 PM on January 10, 2015 [42 favorites]

You have to be honest with him. I'm sure he's run into it before. Seriously, we all have our belief's and level of belief's and that's cool. But it all comes down to you being comfortable, and taking care of yourself. If you need a day for yourself, without this guy, you should be able to have it, yeah?

Just say: I am being alone by myself today.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 9:31 PM on January 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

Being nice and paying him to do your chart because you felt sorry for him was met with an expectation you would listen to endless self-absorption. I say you have done enough and let yourself move on. You don't owe him anything. Polite discourse will benefit you and he will likely move along or you will, so maybe try to just avoid him.
posted by waving at 10:16 PM on January 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

I see two alternative ways to look at this:
- focus on attitudes, not content. Tell him you don't want to be ranted to, no matter what it's about. Tell him you don't want to be burdened with printed matter.

- accept progress in this interaction: it may have been a good thing to do for him to let him do some stuff for money after he just arrived, penniless - and perhaps it was good for your self-image, too. Continuing interaction with this man is apparently not good for your self-image, so why don't you simply dial it down?

In no scenario should this be about whose beliefs and life choices are the wackier ones. Don't waste any time on it, or it'll bite you in the behind.
posted by Namlit at 3:00 AM on January 11, 2015 [2 favorites]

You can be pretty polite if you like, "I appreciate your astrology knowledge, I find that interesting, this other stuff you speak of isn't really interesting to me. So, how's the housing search going?" If he can't be redirected to more terrestrial conversation, then you can say, "Yeah, as I said, not a topic of interest for me. Please excuse me, I need to sweep the reception area."

It's not up for debate or discussion, so don't go there.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:38 AM on January 11, 2015 [5 favorites]

Yeah, Ruthless Bunny is right: just keep saying "I'm not into that. Tell me what you think about The Hermit", or whatever, and if he won't comply, make your boredom obvious and start scrolling down your phone or sorting out the room keys or doing some kind of particularly intricate cleaning. Reward him with attention, but only when he deserves it.

Especially at the microinteractional, gestural, etc. level, I find it helps to bear in mind that such interactions are often part of a cultural pattern in which men feel entitled to bore women, and women feel obliged to exude bodily signs of polite interest. And that that amounts to being complicit in my own oppression. And then I remind myself that there are many other cultural models for what it is to be female. And then I start channeling some of those, and it's quite satisfying, really. It's possible you could see this as a metaphor for, or practice of, chaos magic*.

posted by feral_goldfish at 12:47 PM on January 11, 2015 [4 favorites]

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