How To Conduct Yourself In An Argument

Ah, Social Media. It can be quite the revealing vehicle. And while it has been blamed for breaking up friendships, marriages, and families, the truth of the matter is it gives people a false sense of confidence. Where else can you get into a yelling match with someone without any repercussions? Yet, many people don’t know how to properly argue. Introducing… Arguing 101 With these tips you’re sure to look like intelligent human being when voicing your opinion.

 

 1) Stay On Topic Whenever you engage in an argument with someone, stay within the topic that is presented. If you disagree with what someone is saying, it is important to counter his or her argument with a related point.

 

 Example:
Person A: LeBron James doesn’t dominate the court like he should, and doesn’t close games. I never cared for him as a basketball player.
 Person B: James sent countless kids to college and built houses for the needy! But people keep hating on him.

 

See what went wrong there? Person A was criticizing James on his basketball skills and possible athleticism, whereas Person B was using James’ philanthropy to counter the argument. These two things are unrelated and deserve different conversations.

2) Refrain From Using Extremes Many times when a person presents an opinion, you may be tempted to charge to the complete opposite side of the point in order to “prove” how ridiculous you think their argument is. This is unnecessary.

Example:

Person A: I don’t think a person on the “No Fly” list should be allowed to purchase a gun.
Person: B: So, then I guess we should take away everyone’s guns so I can’t protect my family?

Person B needs to relax. Person A was merely suggesting that more measures should be put in place to keep a certain type of criminal and or suspect from legally purchasing firearms; while Person B has immediately accused Person A of trying to get everyone’s guns confiscated. That was never stated, and wasn’t Person A’s intent.

3) Do Not Introduce a New Fallible Argument If a person presents a valid point, but also a point you may not agree with, try not to counter with an argument that presents immediate flaws and proven stereotypes that are innately false.

Example:

Person A: There is a serious problem with police shooting unarmed black men during normal traffic stops.
Person B: Well, I never hear you talking about Black on Black crime!

 

Poor, poor, Person B. In this example Person A was stating an opinion on an actual topic they felt necessary to highlight; but Person B brought up a weak counter point due to the fact that their point refuses to recognize that Black on Black crime is no more of an anomaly than White on White crime, and most crimes are largely due to proximity, familiarity, and opportunity. Thus resulting in the fact that both Black on Black and White on White crime are literally only different by less that 3%.

4) Refrain From Using Absurd and False Fear Tactics Many times a person may present a controversial, less popular, opinion that you may have valid concerns about. Even though you have valid concerns, try not to create terrible scenarios that have never happened in order to prove your point.

Example:

Person A: At the end of the day, I’m just going to the restroom. I don’t care who else is in there.
Person B: So then I guess your daughter is going to get raped by a pervert then!

 

Whoa there, Person B. Person A was merely stating that in certain situations, they are going to mind their own business. This will probably also include the business of the child that would be in their care. However, because there have never been any reports of such cases in any state, Person B essentially just created a fictional scenario.

 

5) Don’t Make The Argument About You Often, a person can present a topic that they whole-heartedly believe in, and immediately you make it personal. There’s no need for this. Surprisingly, the argument has nothing to do with you, nor does it threaten your belief system.

Example:

Person A: I really have a problem with the current state of our Congress.
Person B: Oh, so then I guess I’m an idiot whose dumb for hoping for change?

 

Hey, Person B, eat a Snickers. Person A was merely stating an opinion based on their current perception on certain matters. That doesn’t mean they think Person B is an “idiot” or “dumb.” In fact, Person B could benefit from stating reasons why they think the opposite of Person A, and engage in an exchange of information.

6) Stay in the Present So, a person presents an opinion that doesn’t match a previous opinion they had, let’s say, ten years ago. If you disagree with their current opinion, it’s unnecessary to point out how they used to feel. This accomplishes nothing.

Example:

Person A: I’m really not a fan of these Kermit the Frog tea sipping pictures.
Person B: So you just gonna ignore how much you liked Sesame Street and the Muppet Show, huh?

 

Out of line, Person B, out of line. Person A was stating a present or existing issue. Such change of heart has little bearing on what they may have thought before. People have a right to change their opinions, or learn something new.

7) Don’t Create an Argument From Nothing. Sometimes a person isn’t looking to start an argument; they are just voicing how they feel about a situation or scenario that matters to them. If you have to find a way to disagree with their perspective, it may be that there is no point to argue at all.

 Example:
Person A: Whew! I sure had a rough day at the office.
Person B: What about those of us who don’t have jobs, thanks to Obummer!

 

Tsk, tsk, Person B. You actually committed two argument faux pas there. While Person A was speaking on their personal day, you broke rule number 1 and rule number 8. There is no argument here. It doesn’t exist. You’ve accomplished nothing.

 8) Don’t Involve Politics in Non-Political Arguments We see it all the time. Someone comments on something, and then suddenly we are speaking on the current Administration. More often than not, non-political arguments have nothing to do with politics.

 

Example:

Person A: …and that’s why I can’t get into baseball.
Person B: Well thanks to all the liberals, my Direct TV lost its contract with the MLB.

 

Seriously, Person B. That doesn’t even make sense.

Person B: Well, you don’t make sense!

Which brings me to number 9.

9) If You’re Losing, Don’t Insult the Winner We’ve all been there. A person is making excellent points, all of which are based in actual corroborated facts, and we realized we’ve lost the argument. This is not a moment for you to make it personal.

Example:

Person A: …and you’ll find that statistics have been proving that for years.
Person B:  Well, maybe you can find statistics on how idiotic you are!

 

Too far, Person B! A person that conducts him or herself properly in an argument can’t be an idiot. Differences of opinions are not a bad thing, nor does it make them a bad person. Such responses do make you kind of a jerk, though.

Person B: You’re a jerk! This whole article is stupid.

Settle down, Person B. This isn’t about you.

Person B: But it is about me. This whole thing is about me!

 You’re projecting…and also being a number 5.

 

Person B: Screw you!

Now you’re number 9.

(Door Slams)

And finally,

10) Don’t Get Rid Of or Delete a Person Because You Disagree.

I mean c’mon…that’s childish

Class dismissed.

 

-Danita LaShelle

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