Satir Categories

Satir Categories Distracter

Virginia Satir suggested that .5% of people will typically use the satir categories distracter attitude. They act as though yes, no or anything was irrelevant.

The distracter is someone who bounces between all three of the previous stances. They deflect responsibility from their self, other people, and the situation! They can be silly to talk to, as well, and may come across as funny or confusing. In speech, the distracter can be used for getting the attention of the audience or causing laughter. A distracter’s gestures will typically be unbalanced, like one arm up, on arm down, and their head cocked.

Think flirting and young children. One of the major things about flirting is the asymmetrical body posture (like standing on one leg or leaning against the wall). There is not so sexy to stand straight and tall with arms and legs in a symmetrical position. Most of us take on this stance occasionally – or we would hope so, unless you are terrible at flirting and playing.

There is a tendency to change the topic to seemingly irrelevant things and for different parts of the body to be moving in different directions. There is a kind of unpredictability about this posture – a readiness to pounce on the object of your desire maybe. This can be a powerful strategy in negotiation if the other party is playing hardball.

A distracter attitude can trigger another person’s Computer (or Super Reasonable) posture. Maybe you’ve noticed when kids get excited; a parent can want to rein them in. “Stop being so silly!

While this attitude is great when flirting and having fun, it’s not so useful when you want to be taken seriously, like in a job interview. It can feel purposeless.


Using a distracter stance, if you were late to a meeting, you might breeze in, lounge in a seat, promptly spill the contents of your bag and say.

“Damn, I’ve got a hole in my sock. Did everyone hear about Mr Smith in accounting – got caught with his pants down in the photo copier room? Ooohh I love the new painting. I went to the fireworks display on the weekend – got so sloshed I couldn’t find my way home.”

Written with Craig McClure


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