The Universal Comeback (I think)

I am a self-professed master of the verbal comeback.

I once offered Twitter followers my services. Follow me on Twitter, and If someone says something mean, insulting, scathing or passive-aggressively cruel to you, send me the remark via Twitter and I will send you the ideal comeback.

I wrote an entire novel about the perfect comeback.
You should read it. Or just buy it and stare at it for a while.  
It comes out in paperback in March. 

I've offered lessons in verbal sparring on this blog. Search "Verbal sparring" and you'll find them.

But today, I offer what I think my be a universally effective comeback. An assemblage of words that can be used in any situation in which a verbal comeback is required. I've tested it in dozens of comeback-required scenarios, and I have yet to find one in which it will not work. 

It works in public situations (when profanity oftentimes is not allowed) and in private equally. 

And it's simple.

Someone says something mean to you. Cruel. Passive-aggressive. Condescending.   

Your response:

"Life didn't turn out the way you hoped. Huh?"

This is a brilliant comeback. The perfect comeback, I think. Others may be better in certain circumstances, but this works every time (I think). 

It's brilliant, for a number of reasons.

First, it immediately forces your opponent on the defensive. Rather than continuing to insult, malign, or belittle you, your opponent is forced to defend their entire life. 

Second, if your opponent has any guilt or regret about an aspect of their life (which so many of us do), this comeback is going to be especially painful. It will strike a dissonant chord. It is a dagger to their heart.

When the person defends their life, arguing in its favor or attempting to compare it to your own success, you merely say something like:

  • "Oh, so this is really how you envisioned your life? Okay."
  • "So you're the victim of low standards then?"
  • "I guess you're the example of if you dream small, you can make your dreams come true."
  • "Your dream was to reach the point where someday you could be here, offering me these small, meaningless insults?"
  • "Really? I didn't expect someone whose life turned out exactly the way they wanted to be here, speaking things that comes from a place of obvious self-loathing."

There's a million ways to point out that every single thing that has taken place in your opponent's life has brought then here, to this moment, insulting you, and how out of a place this seems to someone whose life turned out how they envisioned. 

"Life didn't turn out the way you hoped. Huh?"

It's also an unexpected comeback. It comes from out of the blue. It's verbal sparring's version of a surprise attack. Your opponent says something mean or cruel or insulting to you, and your response is a question of sorts. A question full of supposition and requiring unexpected introspection. 

This is always an excellent strategy in verbal warfare. When your opponent is hitting you head on, outflank them. Hit them where they don't expect it. 

"Life didn't turn out the way you hoped. Huh?"

Try it. Let me know how it goes. I think you might just find it to be perfect.