What Deflection Is and How It Works
Why people use this technique
Deflection is a strategy used to avoid answering a question directly. Instead of responding directly, the person asking the question is instead diverted to talking about something else, usually something that sounds like an answer but isn’t.
In this article, we’ll look at what deflection is and its various forms. You will also learn why people use this technique as well as some examples of its use. Read on to discover more.
What is Deflection?
Deflection is the act of steering a conversation away from your actual viewpoint and toward another topic. When someone is trying to discuss a controversial issue with you and you don’t have a valid argument, you can use deflection to change the subject and get out of the discussion.
The goal of deflection is to avoid getting pinned down and having to defend an argument that can’t be won. When you deflect, you’re changing the subject to something else.
Types of Deflection
- Avoidance – This would be like if you were asked your political views, and then you just walked away from the conversation. You don’t offer any information and walk away instead.
- Distraction – You steer the conversation away from the original topic and onto something else, but it still relates to the original topic. If you were asked about your political views, you could change the subject to sports and talk about the latest game.
- Reinterpretation – You change your argument so that it supports the opposing view. You could change your political views to be in support of the other person’s viewpoint to avoid an argument.
- Conclusion – When you conclude, you sum up the discussion and end it. You don’t debate, or talk about the original topic. You just summarize what was said, and then move on to a new topic.
Examples of Deflection in Everyday Speech
- “The weather sure is nice today.” – This is an example of distraction. The person is trying to talk about the weather instead of a touchy political topic.
- “I’m not a vegetarian. I just don’t eat meat.” – This is an example of reinterpretation. The person is changing her view to suit the situation.
- “Let’s talk about baseball.” – This is an example of avoidance. The person doesn’t want to talk about the touchy political issue at all.
- “I don’t know, but I’m sure we’ll find out soon.” – This is an example of a conclusion. The person is ending the conversation and moving on to another topic.
When to Use Deflection Instead of a Direct Answer
Deflection is a good strategy to use in situations where you don’t want to discuss an issue that is sensitive or divisive. It’s also a good way to avoid an argument when you know you can’t win, but it isn’t a strategy that can be used all the time.
Deflection works best when the other person is asking you directly about a sensitive topic.
Deflection can be good or bad. When you deflect, you should change the subject to something related to the original topic. It should be something positive and engaging, so that it’s easy to move the conversation forward.