5 Things You Should Never Do During An Argument


Have you ever been in a heated debate online about politics, or argued with your spouse about whose turn it is to do the dishes? How’d it end? Did you freeze up and find yourself unable to think of responses to the other side until days after the fact? Or maybe you “won” the fight after your opponent gave up?

If so then this 3 part series of posts is for you. Over the next few days I’m going to teach you how to fight fair. Day 1 {today} I’ll cover 5 things you should never do during an argument. Day 2 I’ll cover how to be persuasive. And on day 3 I’ll cover saying “sorry.” By the end of the series you should be better able to argue your point of view without being a jerk. Why is that so important? Well…

  1. If you act like a jerk you’ll very rarely convince anyone of anything {except maybe for the fact that you’re a jerk}. And…
  2. Nobody likes a jerk.

So, what are the top 5 things you should never do during an argument?

  1. Name-call. Don’t attack people, attack ideas. The minute you get personal you have lost. The person or people you’re trying to persuade will shut down and stop listening, or become defensive and maybe start name-calling back.
  2. Yell. When you feel passionately it can be hard not to raise your voice. But once yelling begins a debate can quickly turn into nothing but a screaming match. You can’t listen to each other if you can’t hear each other.
  3. Refuse to yield. Admitting you don’t know something, or that you were mistaken does not make you weak. But it does help the other side see that you’re reasonable enough to be worth continuing the debate. Who knows…you might even find yourself persuaded to change sides.
  4. See things in black and white. No matter how strongly you feel that President [insert president of your choice here] is evil incarnate, or that Twilight is the worst/best book ever, or that the horseshoes are the best Lucky Charms marshmallows simply feeling passionately about it does not make it so. Very few arguments you have will be arguing anything other than opinion. And the rare arguments about facts are usually ended with a quick trip to Google. If you forget that issues come in shades of grey you’ll have a very hard time doing any of the other items in this list.
  5. Lie. Anybody with the IQ of a naked mole-rat will be able to tell when you’re making stuff up. They’ll despise you for it and they won’t trust anything else you say, even if it is true. In addition to outright lying, don’t fudge the facts or use absolutes {i.e. “you NEVER do that,” or “they’re ALWAYS doing this”}. Absolutes are almost never accurate.

If you avoid these 5 things you might find fights ending much more amicably and perhaps even sooner than usual. You won’t necessarily change anybody’s mind…but, at the very least, you’ll probably avoid making an enemy.

Be sure to check back tomorrow for part 2: “How to Be Persuasive!”


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