Austin Butler Just Perfected the Art of Shutting People Down

There are phrases about the way rolling off the tongue, which are especially fascinating in Butler’s imagination Elvis rasp, the feeling never quite went away after he finished filming the Baz Luhrmann hit GQ interview. I saw a wry smile on the corner of his mouth, with sincerity and pride, he dared to let the interviewer ask questions. Because how do you respond when Austin Butler answers your question with “thank you for the space”? sure thing? certainly? Anytime, Austin?

Stephane Cardinale – Corbis/Getty Images

That’s part of expressive glamour – it makes you more confused and less offended. Imagine an alternate universe where Butler simply replies “through” or “I don’t want to be in it,” or, turns indifferently to stare at his publicist, who is expected to interpret the gaze as a cue to intervene on his behalf— Here’s a real response from a real celebrity I met in an interview.

I’ve since started using this phrase in everyday conversations, as it’s the perfect way to close unwanted lines of questioning while remaining cordial. Dad wants to talk politics? “Sorry, I’m not interested in arguing with you right now, but thank you for the space.” Nosy colleagues want tea? “It’s not something I’d like to discuss, but thanks for the space.” Boyfriend wants to know What’s wrong? “I’m fine, baby, but thank you for the space.”

The phrase confuses them by tricking the other party into believing they’re generous when in fact they may be a pain in the ass, but – IMPORTANT! – Not insulted. It works every time.

I thought about reaching out to Butler for this article to dig deeper into the genius of his response, but ultimately I chose not to. We all know what he’ll say – that’s where he ends up. Thanks, Austin, for providing this quote.

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