Seven simple words to put the brakes on someone’s righteous anger express.

At the risk of sounding boastful, I’m pretty sure that I’m not the dumbest guy on the planet, and at least according to the most recent worldwide rankings, I’m not in the top-10 for most offensive or aggravating individual either. That said, every now and again I’ll find myself in a situation where someone is obviously angry at me, but I’ve got no idea why.

As someone with a great deal of respect for linguistics, personally I think it’s poor form to go on blustering at someone without making your specific grievance crystal clear. So when the person who’s been spewing angry complaints at me finally stops to ask “Do you even know why I’m mad at you?”, my knee-jerk reaction is an impulse to say, “No, I don’t, because you’re being too immature to explain.”

Solid as that logic may be, though, I’ve got to admit it’s not the most constructive communication choice, and probably not the best way to ensure a copacetic relationship in the long-term with a personal or professional acquaintance. So here with a better suggestion is Japanese Twitter user @qwuhaku, who may just have the single greatest response ever to an infuriated utterance of “Do you know why I’m angry with you?”

“My older coworker asked ‘Do you know why I’m angry with you?’ Trembling, I answered ‘I think you’re angry at me because I don’t understand why you’re angry.’ It sort of caused his brain to glitch out.”

There’s an amazingly eloquent beauty to @qwuhaku’s reaction. Rather than offer an aimless apology or lash out in retaliation, he fesses up to not understanding why his coworker is pissed off, and acknowledges that that in itself is probably adding to his frustration. At the same time, though, he’s standing firm, and being completely open about, the fact that he really doesn’t know why his coworker is upset, which is also why he hasn’t apologized or otherwise started to rectify the situation.

Other Twitter users were also impressed with the conversational tactic:

“That…should work!”
“You’re…a genius.”
“That’s some serious philosophy in action.”
“Totally the right answer.”
“It’s like an error message pops up in the other person’s brain.”
“If you just say ‘I’m sorry,’ the other person might get even more upset and shout ‘But do you even know what you’re apologizing for?’”

Just another reminder that when a situation seems like it’s getting out of hand, sometimes all it takes is a few calm, straightforward words to get things under control again.

Source: Twitter/@qwuhaku via Hachima Kiko
Top image: Pakutaso

Follow Casey on Twitter, where he’s not particularly angry about anything at the moment.