Choosing Your Words Wisely In an Argument
We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t argue. It’s the source of new ideas, and the universal language of building and resolving our everyday issues. Arguments wage war, bring peace, and uphold a sense of law and order throughout our communities. We even argue with ourselves.
Whether you love to argue, or you avoid it like the plague, you will surely encounter many more situations where you will have no choice but to stand your ground. Come equipped with common sense and a simple strategy.
Shut Up and Listen
I know, it hurts. You feel like everything they say is wrong. You’re just waiting for them to take a breath between words so you can interrupt, step forward, and throw your arms around to make your point louder. Instead of immediately going on the defense, try taking a step back. Put enough space between you and the other person so they can breathe, and comfortably say what they need to say. Then, let them say it — let them say all the wrong things and even nod your head and encourage them to continue.
Though it may not seem like they notice, they do. Subconsciously they feel less threatened, and they can see you acting less hostile. You might even notice the tone in their voice normalizing. Listen long enough, and they’re bound to want to hear a reply. This will give you the opportunity to be heard when it’s your turn to speak.
Remain Calm and Collected
Some of the greatest arguments of all happen inside a locker room during halftime at a sports game. The players gather and blame, they point a trembling finger at anyone but themselves as an attempt to avoid the coach’s disapproval. The coach is their sagacious wizard, and must conduct an effective halftime speech to each individual player to both analyze and inspire the situation as a team. This is not easy. Their job is on the line, and they realize that now is not the time to be punching lockers or strangling players. They must remain focused on the end goal.
The same rule is applied in personal situations. Keep your head steady. When it’s not, you’re more likely to say something impulsive and possibly hurtful to your argument. Remember the old adage: Think before you speak.
Critique the Argument, Not the Person
This still applies even if the argument has to do with you or your opponent. Don’t attack the person, address the topic. Many people feel the need to condemn their opponent, and insult their intelligence. This is lousy, and what typically turns a sporty argument into a fist fight. Think of arguing as a game of chess: Always be three steps ahead of your opponent, plan out your maneuvers, and strike their defense where they least expect. Those that feel the need to critique their opponent, creating vicious ad hominem attacks, have blatantly admitted to losing the argument.
Many people want to know how to win any and all arguments, as if there was some magic phrase they can hiss to make their argument more justifiable. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. You have to open your eyes to the situation and be creative, because arguing is the hardest art form to master.
An article written by Logan Randall