It strikes me as one of the most devastatingly effective ploys in the annals of lively debate and discourse. When the wind bag person you are talking with becomes too big headed and insufferable in their claim of knowing someone who just happened to know someone very successful or famous; you simply pull out of the contest by shrugging your shoulders and saying dismissively: “never heard of the guy.”
Trust me. It works nearly some of the time; and it has the potential to totally deflate the sails of the other party like a charm.
In fact the impressive person talking to you may not even be a windbag at all in order to employ this technique. They might just happen to be a very nice person that happen to really KNOW someone famous or know someone that knows someone famous or exemplary. Or they might have REALLY accomplished something quite unambiguously successful in their field or career or be connected with someone who has.
Either way, they are sharing this factoid in good faith and with no shallow ulterior motives.
It matters little. Because if; for some petty reason, this admission takes you aback and sounds way too threatening in relation to your own little circle of experience, you can smugly and safely employ this tactic to your advantage (which works nearly some of the time).
“Never heard of the guy.”
It’s as unfairly lethal as mocking a singer or heckling a speaker by repeating everything they are saying with a much worse voice.
Did you get that?
Suddenly your leverage is raised and your stock soars. Even if this snappy rebuttal really only serves to expose your own lack of education—(perhaps someone you meet happens to know a Gold Medalist of some obscure Summer Olympics event like Power Walking) it should at least buy you enough time to breeze thru the Happy Hour, until that is, your colleagues regroup next Monday at the water cooler and compare notes on how egregiously ignorant you really were with your gap in not watching TV enough to be impressed with who that Olympic athlete was.
But when it comes to this battle of social perception and who makes the best first impression—always keep this in mind–it is the here and now, “PRESENT “that matters most. Heck you may never see these people again.
The most important thing to remember is this: If that other person was pining all of his hopes on dramatically dropping a big name at that very critical “end of story” moment, you’re mocking scoff and smarty pants statement—“NEVER HEARD OF THE GUY” will reverberate around the room and quite possibly make the story teller shrink his body language down to a very defeated position much like a tortoise going into his shell.
The one cautionary tale I should leave you with is if your conversational rival happens to mention the TITLE first of the famous person he or she knows, BEFORE the name, because then you will be on much harder ground. For this means that you’re not knowing who the Attorney General of the state of Virginia is could weaken your status to the point that it doesn’t matter HOW dismissive you later say after hearing the name, “NEVER HEARD OF THE GUY!”
So consider what I’ve said and take it for what it’s worth. And unleash it when the time is best situated to demoralize your opponent.
Heck, even if some roving FOX news reporter guy comes seeking you out on the sidewalk with a clipboard and a camera crew in order to test your knowledge on the founding fathers—it is still FAR better to just go ahead and defiantly say “Never heard of the guy!” in response to who what famous document did Thomas Jefferson wrote, rather than being pressured in to a comically way off answer like “The Gettysburg Address.”
Say it loud and emphatic enough and maybe the reporter and his camera crew will sense something disturbing going on and vacate your area.
But in most cases the successful or famous person being cited to you is probably very transitory and superficial anyway. Most likely it is just some trivial pop singer or some nerdy IBM executive that PERSON A wants to unload on you. And those kind of cases are ALWAYS pure gold for the skeptic. I mean who cares if somebody knows someone who knew the Jonas brother that sang the number one hit “Jealous?” Once you say “NEVER HEARD OF IT” then you’ve got the upper hand and it seems rather tawdry.
And if you really want to test out my theory and you liked the flawless research of this article, than please by all means tell your friends and rivals that you happen to know me John Watts, who is after all a very prolific and accomplished writer of some note (a little note?). Then you can see first-hand how devastating my theory is as the other person wheels around with a sneer and says—–wait for it——‘NEVER HEARD OF THE GUY!”