How to Be Antagonistic with Minimal Effort

Sh*t Stirrer

Ever notice how some people just get on your nerves? And it isn’t like they’re trying, right?

If you had the power to be antagonistic on cue with no effort, you could be invincible. Here’s some tips on how to do it.

Ask accusatory questions.

Always ask questions with “Why is it that you didn’t…?” or “Why didn’t you…”? You can also start your questions with, “Did you think about…?” All of these starters clearly say, “You didn’t do it right.”

These questions put people on the defense. Their fur gets ruffled and their nerves are shot.

Avoid asking questions that put people at ease. Questions like, “Would there be any value to …?” This will make someone take notice and respond, “Well, maybe… I’ll make a note to think about that.” You want people to react – that’s what makes you a good antagonizer.

Never commit to agreeing or disagreeing.

When someone makes a statement, respond with “Well, yes AND no.” Respond with a left-handed validation and then give an alternate position. If someone takes the position you gave, play the game again.

If you’re pressured to make a decision or to commit to action, explain your confusion and inner turmoil. “I can see both sides,” claim intellectually. This prevents you from making direct enemies – everyone is annoyed with you equally.

Always have the last word or opinion.

When someone makes a statement, top it. Even if you have to make it up. Use the “yes AND no” routine if necessary.

Don’t leave a conversation with someone else giving information. That validates them – something an antagonist never does.

A quick and easy way to end a conversation for you as an antagonist is, “Oh, believe me, I know!”

Never admit to ignorance.

A great way to antagonize is to  have no clue what you’re doing and still act like you’re the expert. This is especially effective when they know you have no clue!

If you don’t know how to do something, ask someone. But instead of saying thanks, tell them, “That’s what I thought, I was just checking.” Never admit to not knowing something.

If they press you for your ideas first, say, “There are so many ideas that I have, I’m not sure how to organize them in my mind or even what words to use. If you could give me a little help, then I could probably verbalize it better.”


So how about it? Could you be a sh*t stirrer if it only took a little effort? Remember that if you were, you could get out of a lot of work!

Share your experience in the comments section.

3 Responses to How to Be Antagonistic with Minimal Effort
  1. Infomum
    February 14, 2011 | 3:52 pm

    I am not sure if I like this article.

    Did you think about the old adage that you catch more flies with honey than vinegar?

    Is that antagonistic enough? *grin*

    I didn’t catch the significance of the picture until I read your last line, now I am laughing myself silly.

    And of course I love the article .. or is that playing both sides of the fence?

    • Idearella
      February 22, 2011 | 5:10 am

      Play both sides all you like! 🙂

      Glad you like the photo. I try.

  2. zenderfella
    March 28, 2011 | 2:50 pm

    When ‘necessary’ I strive to be a likable antagonist. One technique I do use is to ask questions in a manner that is percieved to pass judgement. “Do you wear that out in public?” I like to let peoples’ imaginations and insecurities about themselves do the dirty work for me. It’s kind of like a slow acting poison, and I can claim innocence. After all, there’s no sense in losing friends over something like this. Who would I have left to antagonize?

    – z

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