How Not to Win Friends or Influence People

How Not to Win Friends or Influence People

How Not to Win Friends or Influence People

In 1936, Dale Carnegie wrote his famous self-help book How to Win Friends and Influence People, which to this day is one of the best-selling books of all time. In it, Carnegie advises – among other things – to avoid actual arguments, show respect for the other person’s opinions, and admit when you’re wrong.

These are lessons that conservative commentator Denise McAllister would do well to learn. If you’re wondering who McAllister is, you aren’t alone. I’d never heard of her either, but she’s apparently a conservative columnist who until last night wrote for outlets such as the Federalist and the Daily Wire.

And then she was sacked for being a batshit crazy, unhinged bitch.

How crazy? This crazy.

Hours before her firing, McAllister, 52, incited vigorous backlash with a flurry of tweets focused on Yashar Ali, a journalist who last week accused the managing editor of politics for NBC and MSNBC, Dafna Linzer, of trying “to bully me on behalf of the” Democratic National Committee. Specifically those tweets focused on the fact that Ali is gay.

“A gay man commenting on a heterosexual relationship is just. Sad. Pathetic really,” she said in one tweet late Saturday that has since been deleted.

“I think @yashar has a crush on me. Maybe I’m making him doubt his love of penis,” she said in another.

Now, what is it that Yashar Ali could have possibly said that made McAllister lose her proverbial shit?

Behold the horror!

Twitter screen capture

When I read this exchange, my first thought was, “he’s rightfully concerned about how her husband treated her.” Frankly, I would be too, having had some experience with an abusive significant other. The reaction she describes is typical of an abused spouse. “It’s my fault. How dare I do something he doesn’t like! Here, let me make up for it by serving him. That made it all better. Maybe he won’t hit me this time.”

That may very well not have been the case in the McAllister household. They may very well have a loving, mutually-respectful marriage. I don’t know, and neither did Ali. He went by the impression he and probably thousands of others got from that tweet: concern.

And what did he get in return? A barrage of abuse that was unwarranted and repugnant, trashy, classless, and rude. And when faced with disgusted reactions from all sides of the political spectrum, McAllister went on the defensive and decided to play victim.

He attacked me for respecting my husband’s “masculine space.”

He criticized my relationship with my husband.

That’s bigotry toward me from a gay man.

I have been ridiculed for loving my husband and defending traditional male/female roles.

She got all that from a two-word response indicating concern. What the hell?

And then, in the middle of the night and in a stunning lack of self-awareness, McAllister proceeded to claim that she was fired from the Federalist and the Daily Wire for criticizing a gay man who allegedly mocked her heterosexual relationship, while pulling all of Christianity into her possibly drunken drama by framing the non-attack as an assault on Judeo-Christian values.

No, cupcake. That’s not how any of that works.

You were fired for acting like an unhinged cunt, attacking a guy who just happens to be gay for expressing concern for you – whether misguided or not – and engaging in playground bully taunts about anal sex, and when you reflect poorly and publicly on your employer, they have the right to let you go.


Did you ever wonder why leftists think of conservatives as a repulsive horde of bigots? Here’s a perfect example.

No this is not fighting back for their childish attacks on us.

No, this is not pointing out their hypocrisy when they attack conservatives’ religious beliefs or attempt to silence them.

No, this is not defending yourself against an attack.

This is deranged screeching from a school bully, who doesn’t have the mental capacity to discuss the issues, and who impotently squeals “YEAH? WELL YOU’RE A FAGGOT!” at his adversary in a puerile, ad hominem rebuke.

Dale Carnegie is choking on his own vomit in his grave right now.

That’s not the way to bring people to our cause, and if we want to grow the conservative movement, it’s certainly what we must do.

If we want to win elections on our ideals, we must make those ideals more palatable and not have them come out of the mouths (or keyboards) of enraged swine focused on the sexual acts of others.

Guess what! If you come across as a shitheel, no one will listen to your lofty principles. They will hone in on the fact that you’re a shitheel and nothing more. Outright hostility toward other people – even if we find their lifestyles unpalatable – will do nothing toward bridging our divides.

Humiliating your opponent – especially if they’ve done nothing to warrant your attack – reflects badly on you and no one else. Whenever we argue with someone, no matter if we win or lose the argument, we still lose, wrote Carnegie. And if our goal is to bring about change and support for our cause, acting like a jackass, will only hinder our mission.

In a recent interview with American Partisan, Virginia delegate Nick Freitas outlined the difference between outreach and debate.

There’s some people I’m just going to debate with, and if I trigger them, I don’t particularly care. Not because I’m mean or what not, it’s just that if you’re going to be triggered by everything, then effective communication is not possible, and all I’m trying to do at this point is win the argument.

But if I’m talking to someone that I really think is at least in some way interested, or could become interested, in our worldview, and a greater respect for individual liberty and private property rights, well then I’m willing to go out of my way so that I don’t say something that triggers you if it means that I can get to a point where we can have common understanding. So it’s not about tiptoeing through the fields, it’s more about saying, if my goal is to win an argument, that’s one thing. But if my goal is to convince you of something, well then I have to ask myself, “What am I willing to do in order to modify my own approach in order to get across to you?

That’s become the other thing with social media and with the 24-hour news cycle; everyone’s looking for that shocking statement or moment that’s actually going to grab headlines, instead of engaging in effective outreach, because effective outreach requires you to modify what you’re saying in such a way that it can be received.

Carnegie called it “winning people to your way of thinking,” or using a drop of honey to catch more flies. In public affairs, we call it effective messaging. Nick calls it outreach. But whatever we call it, railing about Ali’s preference for dick is not part of the equation, unless your goal is to injure another person’s self-respect, damage your own reputation, and confirm to those on the fence that the conservative movement is, in fact, filled with assholes.

What followed McAllister’s poorly thought out attack was widespread condemnation – thankfully from all sides of the political aisle – confirming that human decency has no political affiliation.

I don’t know if McAllister sobered up and realized how much of a raging bitch she was toward what amounted to a pretty innocuous comment, or whether she decided that impacting her livelihood by losing two writing gigs wasn’t worth the momentary satisfaction she got from the heaping, steaming pile of abusive turds she shoveled onto Ali. Whatever it was, she had the good sense to apologize.

Carnegie would have at least given her points for that, but I have to wonder how much her little rampage set back the conservative movement.


Featured photo courtesy of Johnhain on Pixabay (cropped, license)

Written by

Marta Hernandez is an immigrant, writer, editor, science fiction fan (especially military sci-fi), and a lover of freedom, her children, her husband and her pets. She loves to shoot, and range time is sacred, as is her hiking obsession, especially if we’re talking the European Alps. She is an avid caffeine and TWD addict, and wants to own otters, sloths, wallabies, koalas, and wombats when she grows up.

  • GWB says:

    we must make those ideals more palatable
    Yes and no. What we must do to win is convince people our ideals and principles are RIGHT. And that they are best served by supporting those ideals and principles. But, yeah, we don’t want to crap in the spoon just because the medicine already tastes a bit unpleasant.

    Nick Freitas outlined the difference between outreach and debate
    What he said. Sometimes I’m going to state my case purely because the facts need to be presented. (I’m going to quibble with the idea of “debate” = “argue”, though. A debate is a meaningful exchange, where you can both aggressively defend your ideas and attempt to break down the ideas of the other. But it’s done with respect for the other person.)

    using a drop of honey to catch more flies
    “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.”
    OK, but who wants a bunch of flies?!

    the conservative movement is, in fact, filled with assholes
    My response would be, “Yep, so what’s one more? Come and join us!” And I would say it with a BIG smile. 😉

    she had the good sense to apologize
    And it looks like an actual apology. Which does set her apart from a lot of politicians and celebrities and such. No “I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings.” It was “What I did was wrong.” So, kudos to her for that.

    I have to wonder how much her little rampage set back the conservative movement
    I don’t think that much. While she is a nominally prominent writer on the conservative side, I don’t think she’s outrageously visible to all the low-info people watching CNN and MSNBC.
    On top of which, the progressive propaganda machine keeps folks well supplied with imaginary a**holery, and an actual incident of it is a tear on a river.

    The folks who CAN affect those low-info people are you and me. And your post is exactly right about how we have to deal with them. We have to make our case while not being a jacka**, and to make it well, based on principles, not anecdotes and gotcha moments.

    And, sometimes, even without resorting to “linguistically creative disapproval”. 😉

    • Marta Hernandez says:

      I was just looking on Twitter. Apparently, she has mental issues and this is not the first time she went apeshit on someone. She’s not a good spokesperson for the right, and I hope you’re correct about her not having a big effect on conservatives.

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