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· Mary: So, how much money should we be spending on…
John: You tell me, Mary. You seem to have all the answers.
In the example above, John is not having a good faith conversation about the money. He’s working on some other agenda, perhaps because he’s feeling attacked, or believes that Mary already has an opinion on how much money they should spend. And, of course she DOES have an opinion, and has a right to one, but is being constructive enough to ask John. And she gets punished for it.
In effect, he probably thinks Mary is playing some sort of game, and responds with another “game-like” response.
In this example, the point of the conversation gets lost, and it will likely escalate into a rather ugly argument, because the conversation has several threads to it.
Not only is “you tell me” a rude response, because it is a refusal to answer a seemingly straight-forward question, but it’s dirty fighting.
Make It Better:
If John wants to avoid an ugly argument, he needs to put his own agenda on hold. You can’t have a conversation with people following different agendas, and expect a positive outcome, because people will operate at “cross-purposes”, thinking they are talking about the same thing, but not really doing so.
To make this better, just answer the question.