You’ve probably heard the expression, “he’d argue with the Saints that one!” What that means is that there are people who no matter what, love to argue about anything and everything and they never lack for a quick come-back.
We all know that one person — the friend or relative who never cease to find an opportunity to argue a point. And by argue, I don’t necessarily mean as always in the hostile aggressive sense, but just in the way of taking the contrarian view…always.
Is Arguing Bad?
Some experts say arguing is bad, other say it’s healthy, while there are those that says that arguing is completely pointless. I tend to fall into the category of believing that arguing is okay, as long as its calm, reasoned and kept civil.
Conflict and arguments are often seen as negative and things to be avoided. Many people see conflict as reflective of a “crack” in a relationship or a sign that a relationship is in trouble. Yet research suggests that the process of conflict and arguing facilitates talk and awareness of another’s perspective. Therefore, it is important to keep in mind that conflict and arguing can be very beneficial to the health of friendships and romantic relationships. – Jennifer A. Samp Ph.D in Psychology Today
We are seeing more arguments lately, especially the online kind. People have no fear of offending or hurting someone, because they sit in secret behind their keyboard, so they don’t even question if their tone or choice of words is overtly hostile. We’re now “saying” absolutely awful things directly to and about other people, because we have falsely convinced ourselves that if its anonymous online, who can it hurt? The reality is, it can and does hurt a lot of people.
I was reading a twitter exchange recently between a woman who expressed a more liberal viewpoint and several more conservative people who decided that they were going to settle her hash, metaphorically speaking of course. There were many comments which supported the more liberal women, but her detractors, who took offense by her fairly innocuous views, decided to go for the throat. The vitriol was shocking, as hurtful insults and completely bogus facts were thrown around with little care for truth or compromise.
Arguing, when done with anger or malice in mind, is rarely a good thing and almost never changes anyone’s thinking.
Here are just a few ways to argue in a healthy, productive way:
- Remember that conflict should not be seen as a threat, but rather, as an opportunity to evolve and grow: Are you perfect? No, and none of us are. Do you get it wrong sometimes? Yes, because we all do. Sometimes we think we know it all, but we don’t. Any “argument” is an opportunity to impart facts and wisdom, as well as a chance to learn some from others.
- Keep it logical: If you start dragging up every point and feeling on something from 20 years ago, it might just derail the argument. If your point is to show the other person ___fill in the blank______, then stick to the facts that directly relate to ___fill in the blank________.
- Think about what you say and how you say it: Think before you speak and if its an online argument, think before you type. Yelling or pounding out your thoughts in a frenzy just creates unwelcome tension. Be prepared to invest the time necessary to communicate your thoughts and beliefs logically and clearly.
- Be flexible and open to other ideas: So, you know it all, do you? And you’re never wrong, right? The problem with arguing is when the parties engaged refuse to bend or accept that maybe their “facts” aren’t that factual after all. If you can’t accept any of the information being presented as fact by your “opponent,” don’t expect them to accept yours.
- Remember that we are all vulnerable: This perhaps may be the most important. We are all stressed or feeling low at some point, so if you’re arguing with someone, particularly online, remember, that person on the other end may be going through something very difficult — why add to anyone’s stress by being a bully or hurting their feelings? We certainly don’t want someone to do that to us.
“The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress.” – Joseph Joubert
Some people are born to argue and indeed, would argue with the Saints, while others argue only as a last resort. Perhaps the better solution is to know when to argue and know when to keep it to yourself and use other measures — what is more effective…arguing with some stranger online about politics, or instead, contacting your elected Representatives to tell them directly what you expect as a citizen? Arguing in any format can create a lot of tensions for ourselves and others. With all the stresses in life, it may seem like a good way to vent, but the truth is, all arguing does is create hostility. Before arguing, ask yourself if its worth it, considering the fact that when arguing, you probably won’t be changing anyone’s mind.