‘Tiiiis the season to get nasty. Falalalala-lala-lala.

There are certain words and phrases that automatically lend credence to the sentences they appear in, for example, credence.  The phrase it turns out makes its user sound like they have a special laboratory where they go to form all their smart, respectable opinions. E.g. As it turns out, the sky is yellow.

Anything that comes after the human condition seems common to everybody, doesn’t it? For example: Loneliness is the human condition. Greed is the human condition. Blue eyelashes are the human condition.

The desire to name flaws and shame their owners is also the human condition. We all, at some point, feel we know precisely how somebody else should alter themselves and we’re very vocal about it. Sometimes, like when we want to win arguments, we even name imaginary flaws. Because it’s the end of the year, many families are going to be stuck in the same place for the first time in months and this means that insults are going to fly.

Here’s a guide to guarantee that you always sound like you have a nice flavor of brain and reduce your opponent to a trembling, floor-hugging pile of annoyingness.

Listen carefully to your adversary’s insult and then throw it back at them word for word. Be sure to keep your face straight while you do this, or else you won’t be capitalizing on the irritating-ness of your act. You can go as far as copying their body language, making sure to add muchuzi. Like, if they’re waving their hands around, wave your entire body.

Who says your quarrel-mate has to understand you? Be the Twista of insults. Loudly fire three hot ones and then start making random noises. For example: you look like a spinster goat with two humps and three legs, buh buh black sheep, kanankanyi, giraffe fool!!

Vulgarity, unless skillfully used, will water down your insult. It is the last refuge of the loser. When you’re winning a fight, you don’t need the shock value that expletives offer. You can just finish your opponent off with witty and insightful invective. Also, very few people are thrown off by bad language nowadays. Someone can easily sneer and say something like “your head is so big, you look like a question mark” and just like that, you’ll have lost.

Have you read those novels where the writer goes, “He unleashed his dangerously quiet voice and Assumptah found herself caught between trembling and wincing”? Speaking quietly, apart from freaking your foe out, is a very effective way of expressing maturity and therefore, dominance. Remember how Batman in The Dark Knight sounded? Like an upside down tortoise being dragged slowly over one of Komamboga’s roads. So the next time you find yourself about to say, “I will eat your lower intestine if you don’t shut your cavernous trap” remember to not shout.

Speaking in a low voice also frustrates your foe by making them strain to hear you. It’s the most annoying thing to be quarreling with somebody who makes you go “pardon? Eh? What was that? Increase volume naawe!”

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