I call it the Irish style of communication, but that's just because I think of myself as Irish. It really should just be called "civilized" communication.
Most of us know how it works, because most of us do it every day. But not all of us. Not the Ass Burgers.
First, Irish communication:
You and your conversation partner say stuff back and forth, looking for points of agreement over which the two of you can bond. Then you use that plateau of agreement to launch into a new topic, on which you both continue to seek cozy points of common interest and shared sentiment.
So say I say, I love the Seattle Seahawks because I love Seattle, because I was a big fan of their quarterback Jim Zorn when I was a kid, and I love their cool modern uniforms.
Now, suppose you hate the Seahawks, hate Seattle, hate their uniforms, and barely remember Zorn. You say, "Zorn! Wasn't he a scrappy little left-hander?"
And I say, "Yes! He was tiny, and they were a terrible team and he carried them on his shoulders during those years."
And then you talk about your favorite underdog team. And speaking of underdogs, the other person asks if you've ever heard his theory about how you can make steady money betting on underdogs who are playing at home? And so on and so forth.
And you keep doing this unless and until you can't find anything more you two have in common, or until the other person says something so preposterous (like, he doesn't know anything about white supremacists) that you are morally compelled to beat him or her over the head with a chair.
That rarely happens, and if you practice this kind of civilized communication for long enough, you are both drunk on beer or high on coffee and life, and feeling better, for the experience, about the possibilities of all humanity, and your place in it.
Irish communication comes so naturally to me—and to most of us, really—that it can be hard to see it as an actual technique. Until, that is, you run into a person, as you occasionally do, who practices its very opposite.
Ass Burger communication:
I have at least two Ass Burgers in my life—one a personal acquaintance, and one a professional. These are both warm and caring people. Big smilers and easy huggers. And bright! But they're utterly horrible to talk to. Because they are the exact opposite of Irish communicators. You've heard of Asperger's Syndrome? It's real. So is Ass Burger's.
Ass Burgers are the exact opposite of Irish communicators. Instead of automatically searching their conversation partner's utterings for commonality, they zero in on the smallest difference. So that if I say I like the Seahawks, I like Seattle, I like Jim Zorn and I like the uniforms—and the Ass Burger also loves the Seahawks, Seattle and Zorn—the Ass Burger will respond by saying, "Oh, those uniforms are the absolute worst. How can you like them?"
So you'll change the subject. You'll suggest a Caribbean vacation over New Year's, all expenses paid, at a little resort where everybody has their own private cabana and free booze all day!
"What's the food like?" will come the response. "Did you look into that? Because I went to a resort in the Caribbean once and the food was just terrible."
These people don't have Asperger's. They are Ass Burgers.
I've studied these people. I've confronted them about their illness. When I have, the response is inevitably, "That's what I love about you. You don't mind a good argument." Well yes, Mrs. Ass Burger—but like most others, I don't consider frozen yogurt a suitable subject for a kitchen-clearing conversational donnybrook.
If the Ass Burger perceives me as more agreeable with their perpetual disagreement than most, perhaps it's because I because I've come to the conclusion Ass Burgers can't help themselves. They don't dislike everybody. They just gravitate toward disagreement, like moths to a flaming asshole.
Ass Burgers: They're not terrible people. They're just terrible people to talk to.