What is the gray stone technique?

The gray stone technique allows us to maintain a healthy distance from abusive and demanding personalities. How to put it into practice?

Last update: May 25, 2022

The gray stone technique is a way of dealing with dramatic situations with other people. As its name indicates, it consists of assuming a stone posture so that the other is not interested in us. What exactly is it about?

“I don’t know how the whole conflict started, I barely said two words and now it seems to have no end.” How many times do we end up involved in a problem for not saying exactly the right words or for not maintaining a certain attitude? This is just one example where this strategy can be implemented. Let’s see.

What is the gray stone technique?

If we had to synthesize what the gray stone technique refers to, we could use a common phrase “No bullets enter him.” This expression represents the unchanging attitude of a person, someone who remains unchanged.

In this way, the attempt is made to make the person bored, to stop making us the target of their downloads. It is often recommended as a coping resource for individuals who have the following characteristics:

  • They are manipulative, abusive, narcissistic and the like.
  • They seek to make us feel guilty or responsible for certain situations.
  • They practice the gas lightinga subtle emotional abuse that is presented in disguise, that seeks to confuse the interlocutor, making him believe that he is the one who is wrong.
  • They tend to harass, seeking to “hit” in a subtle way where it hurts most through passive-aggressive comments, uncomfortable or inquisitive questions.
  • They get their power at the expense of others.
  • They seek to unleash a conflict and give rise to drama.

In this way, the gray stone technique seeks to desensitize —like a stone— to the person who receives these comments, in such a way that they can “deactivate” the other, finding no reaction or response.

One of the goals of the gray stone technique is to avoid drama and conflict.


How to apply the gray stone technique?

Some keys when applying the gray stone technique are the following:

  • Provide a short answer; for example: “maybe I do not know”.
  • Try to keep the interaction short.
  • Avoid expressing emotions especially those of discomfort, disgust or anger.
  • Do not show interest in what that person says, no matter how much it involves us directly or indirectly.
  • Do not initiate the interaction. Only get involved if it is really necessary.
  • Avoid asking the other person for a favor, as this may start their “power games.”

Other recommendations to consider

  • Avoid getting bogged down in explanations.
  • Do not clarify emotions or what is done. That is, if you say “what happens?” or “I notice you differently” it is better to answer «any”.
  • Do not share privacy.


Use of the gray stone technique: exceptions

Like any technique, it also has its limitations. This is so because we must also know how to “adjust” our responses to the circumstances. It is not about finding a stereotyped attitude, since we do not have the same bond with all people.

For those people we care about and do us good, turning into a stone can cause a lot of damage. For example, if our interlocutor is provoking us with a certain comment, but it is not something that happens often, it is necessary to understand that something is wrong.

In this case, it is best to talk and allow the expression of emotions on both sides. On the other hand, it is important do not abuse its use as a way to defuse all conflicts; that is, we must know how to set limits and make ourselves respected.

This “pseudo” passivity can make us feel worse or sow a weak view of ourselves. In this sense, it is important that we keep in mind the group of people with whom it is worth applying this strategy.

In certain cases, it is preferable to talk and express feelings than to apply the gray stone technique.

Run away from toxic relationships

The use of the gray stone technique is very useful to deal with situations that are unavoidable. For example, lead the coexistence with a manipulative boss in the best personal way.

In this case, unless we leave work or have the opportunity to change areas, sometimes we have no choice but to seek “survival.”

However, it must be admitted that if we find ourselves in these contexts in a sustained manner, the emotional and even physical wear and tear that we face implies a very high cost for our well-being and health.

In this way, it is important that we try to distance ourselves from those people with whom we feel “on alert”, who manipulate us and who take away our energy. Setting limits and refusing certain requests too it has to serve to mark our space and make our identity respected.

The gray stone technique can be a way to make a “transition”, a temporary palliative, that leads us to distance ourselves from these very harmful personalities. In no way can we allow insult and disrespect.

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