Any variant of this conversation is a major red flag:
- Person: Please stop doing x
- Other person: I would never x! I’m not the kind of person who does x!
- Person: I’ve had problems with x in the past. Please make sure not to x.
- Other person: How dare you suggest I am the kind of person who would x?!
- Person: Please x.
- Other person: Of course I’m going to x! How dare you say I wouldn’t?!
Here are some less abstract examples:
- Person: Please stop pulling my hair
- Other person: I’m not pulling your hair! I’m just brushing it. That doesn’t hurt. I’m not the kind of person who hurts people when I brush their hair.
- Person: I’ve had problems in the past with roommates eating my food. Can you reassure me that you won’t eat my food?
- Other person: I’m not the kind of person who eats other people’s food. Why would you say that about me?!
- Person: When are you going to pay me back the money I lent you?
- Other person: I’m going to pay you back! I’m not the kind of person who neglects to pay people back!
In all of these cases, Other Person is construing a conversation about a problem, or a request to solve a problem, as an attack on their character. Most people don’t want to attack the character of others, especially on issues that aren’t quite deal-breaking, and so often, this works and gets them to drop the issue and let Other Person keep doing the objectionable thing.
There aren’t kinds of people who do bad things, and kinds of people who do good things. Everyone does bad things sometimes; it is important to be aware of this and correct problems you cause. Making everything about whether you are The Kind Of Person who does bad things prevents you from seeing and fixing your mistakes.
Acting this way is *really nasty*. Don’t do it, and don’t let others trick you with it.