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Minimization

 

Techniques > Conversation techniques > Excuses > Minimization

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Make whatever it is that you are being accused of seem to be small and insignificant.

Talk about all the other more critical things. Emphasize what is really important. Spend little time talking about the matter being questioned, as if it is not worth it.

Make the other person seem fussy and picky. Say they are making a fuss over a mere trifle. Toss your head. Maybe patronize them a little.

Example

Oh, for goodness sake! What's the fuss about? That's hardly worth bothering about, is it?

Hah! Is that all it is. I thought there was something really wrong, like when we forgot the luggage. Remember that?

Are you ok? You tend to get picky when something else is bothering you. Come on, what's up?  

Discussion

Minimization is the reverse of amplification, which makes things larger than they are. A further principle is one of contrast, where the thing made small seems smaller in comparison with other things. Amplifying those other things further only serves to make the criticism seem even smaller.

As a species, we seem prone to exaggeration, for example in the way we polarize issues and arguments, and stereotype of one another. This separation is a part of the process of recognition, classification and naming.

Minimizing the issue and making the other person seem fussy is effectively a counterattack, deflecting the real issue by provoking them into defending themselves and so moving away from the original accusation.

See also

Amplification principle, Distraction, Trivializing

 

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