I stopped, suddenly, as I read the next question in the ESPN article. My blood began to boil. The hair stood up on the back of my neck. I simply couldn’t believe my eyes. I read it again.
“Six kids? Regardless of your profession, it’s impossible to be a good parent to six kids. Not enough hours in the day.”
I quickly skipped down to the answer. How would Philip Rivers, the NFL quarterback with 6 kids, answer the question?
As you’d expect, he stepped up into the pocket. A quick joke about diapers moves him away from danger. He then hits his receiver right between the numbers – following up the joke by bragging about his wife and promoting a few of the merits of a large (by today’s standards) family.
It’s a two-year rotation: Once the diapers come off of one, we usually have a newborn. And we have another one on the way, due in October. I help when I can, but my wife, Tiffany, is the key. My big, growing family keeps everything balanced and grounded. My oldest is 11 now, and the kids are getting into football. They’re Daddy’s biggest fans, and they don’t get on you as bad as most fans. If you throw an interception, they still love you.
As parents of six ourselves, Teresa and I have heard our fair share of similar questions. Some are fairly innocent. “Wow, you have your hands full.” Others attempt to be funny, but border on being rude. “You know how that happens, right?” Still others, like Philip’s questioner, can’t help but insert their negative opinion.
As a result, I’ve become quite adept at dealing with obnoxious comments. What Philip did so gracefully has undoubtedly come from years of practice. Here’s a quick four-step formula for successfully defusing obnoxious comments.
Take a deep breath
Nothing good ever comes by saying the first thing that comes to mind. Take a deep breath, collect your composure, and be the bigger person.
Tell a joke
Making light of the situation will immediately defuse the situation.
Divert the attention
The last thing you want is a personal battle with your adversary. Focus the conversation on someone else. Boost someone else up as the hero.
Promote the benefits
Don’t let it go without making your point. Instead of ripping apart the other person’s argument, speak to the benefits of your approach.
Following this proven formula may not make you a pro-bowl quarterback, but, it will help you navigate sticky situations.