To work the “contrary method” to perfection requires a careful control up to the finish and beyond it. In order never to be found out, we have to be so consistent in our behavior that we gradually get trained into nothing but a common every-day hypocrite, and the process which goes on behind hypocrisy must necessarily be a process of decay. Beside that, the keenest hypocrite that ever lived can only deceive others up to a certain limit.
But what is one to do when a friend can only be reached by the “contrary method”? What is one to do when if, for instance, you want a friend to read a book, you know that the way to prevent his reading it is to mention your desire? If you want a friend to see a play and in a forgetful mood mention the fact that you feel sure the play would delight him, you know as soon as the words are out of your mouth you have put the chance of his seeing the play entirely out of the question? What is one to do when something needs mending in the house, and you know that to mention the need to the man of the house would be to delay the repair just so much longer? How are our contrary-minded friends to be met if we cannot pretend we do not want what we do want in order to get their cooperation and consent?
No one could deliberately plan to be a hypocrite understanding what a hypocrite really is. A hypocrite is a sham—a sham has nothing solid to stand on. No one really respects a sham, and the most intelligent, the most tactful hypocrite that ever lived is nothing but a sham,—false and a sham!
Beside, no one can manage another by the process of sham and hypocrisy without sooner or later being found out, and when he is found out, all his power is gone.
The trouble with the contrary-minded is they have an established habit of resistance. Sometimes the habit is entirely inherited, and has never been seen or acknowledged. Sometimes it has an inherited foundation, with a cultivated superstructure.
Either way it is a problem for those who have to deal with it,—until they understand. The “contrary method” does not solve the problem; it is only a makeshift; it never does any real work, or accomplishes any real end. It is not even lastingly intelligent.
The first necessity in dealing truly with these people is not to be afraid o f their resistances. The second necessity, which is so near the first that the two really belong side by side, is never to meet their resistances with resistances o f our own.
If we combat another man’s resistance, it only increases his tension. No matter how wrong he may be, and how right we are, meeting resistance with resistance only breeds trouble. Two minds can act and react upon one another in that way until they come to a lock which not only makes lasting enemies of those who should have been and could be always friends, but the contention locks up strain in each man’s brain which can never be removed without pain, and a new awakening to the common sense of human intercourse.