The 'grey rock' method everyone is talking about.

Have you ever been stuck in a conversation with someone who you just know will use whatever you say against you?

They might twist your words or try to catch you out, using your conversation as a trigger to start an argument. Our natural instinct is to avoid people like this altogether, but sometimes that's easier said than done.

Narcissists are all around us. They might be our boss, our ex-partner or someone in our family. These are the types of people that we'd like to avoid but because of certain circumstances... we can't. 

They're also the types of people that the 'grey rock method' was originally created for.

Also known as 'grey rocking', the method is a conversational tactic used when talking to people who have narcissistic or manipulative attributes. 

The idea is to be as dull and aloof as a physical grey rock so that people get bored with your conversation and stop trying to get something out of you. The end goal of grey rocking is to make people who are looking to start a fight or use your words against you completely avoid trying to do so because they assume you have nothing to give them. 

"The whole point [of grey rocking] is that you don't garner attention. And these personalities live for attention, whether it's good, bad, or ugly, they don't care, they will take it in any shape or form so that they can get in," says lawyer and founder of Grey Rock Consulting, Mia Madafferi (yes, she's made her whole business out of this). 

If you want to try the grey rock method, here are some things to consider...

You can utilise grey rocking in your daily life.

Grey rocking doesn't always have to be saved for those wanting to take advantage of you. Sometimes, you just want to avoid a gossip session or you don't want to talk about how difficult your boyfriend is being right now. Grey rocking can help you continue being in an engaged conversation while not giving too much of yourself in the moment. 


"If you bring it down to the bare basics, even in your daily life, we tend to over-explain or feel that if we aren't polite in our responses, people will perceive us as unkind or that there's something wrong, or that you're hiding something. And sometimes we just don't feel like talking or we just don't want to explain something," Madafferi says. 

Grey rocking phrases to use.

So what do you actually say when you want to try out the grey rock method? 

"The trick is to keep it short and sweet," says Madafferi. 

So here are some go-to sayings to whip out to avoid saying too much or having to explain yourself. 

"I hear what you're saying." 

"Okay, sure, great, very good for you." 

"Thanks for sharing." 

"That's a really interesting perspective." 

"I'm sorry that's what you think."

"Let's just move forward."

"Thank you for sharing your opinion." 

"Thanks for voicing your concern." 

"Thanks for letting me know your thoughts." 

"I'll consider that." 

When you're on the receiving end of being grey rocked. 

If you're a chronic yapper like myself, you might've been on the receiving end of a grey rock. 

At first I was offended, thinking that the person who was grey rocking me thought I was a narcissist when really, I just love a gossip session. 


Speaking on the Mamamia Out Loud podcast, I talked about how over-sharing was one of my love languages and I struggled with people who would grey rock me because it felt like they didn't trust me with their stories. 

You can listen to the full episode here. Post continues below.

Be okay with the uncomfortable.

It's important to remember that if you're using the grey rock method, the conversation you're having is still a two-way street. You can't predict how the other person will react to your grey rock demeanour. 

One of the biggest obstacles I found when I tried grey rocking for the first time was being comfortable in the uncomfortable. If you're known for talking a lot, suddenly giving short answers might take the other person aback and then you're both sitting there in silence. It's so easy to want to fill that silence with explaining yourself. 

"With women in particular, I think we've all been conditioned to be kind, not be rude, answer questions and not create problems," says Madafferi.

"It's really hard and you've got to do it and keep practicing until it becomes second nature. But at first, it's uncomfortable and you feel quite bad. Learning to prepare for that response is key. You might feel bad but you don't actually need to explain anything and it's not your responsibility if they take it personally."

Have you tried grey rocking? What are your go-to grey rock phrases? Tell us in the comments!

If you want more culture opinions by Emily Vernem, you can follow her on Instagram @emilyvernem.

Feature image: Canva.

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