I’m a sucker for debates and arguments. I usually get trapped in heated discussions. Or maybe just in a “heated” self. I engage myself in talks when one personal belief gets questioned by another. I felt like I have the rights and obligations to defend it. I still do now but not that much anymore. I’m trying to minimize it. It’s difficult to avoid but I think I am making progress. I’m learning thru experience. Arguments are energy and psychologically draining. And sometimes traumatizing.
Now I choose where, who and when to argue. We should choose our battles carefully. Not all of them are worth of the time anyway. And this brings us to the first step.
1. Be “picky” – There are arguments we can avoid. The reasons might be the topic itself, the environment or the person you would be engaging it with. It’s good to share a thing or two about your opinion on a certain topic. But if there’s a risk that it will blow out of proportion, better not engage on it. Especially the trivial ones. Like for example the usual “network wars” thingy. I know some gets too serious on this topic. If you really can’t help it then you can just throw a joke about it. But if someone retaliates, there’s no need for you to reply. It’s just a joke anyway. Or totally avoid joking about it as well.
|Your argument is invalid (photo credit: motifake.com)|
And this is one of my weaknesses. I argue with people even about some insignificant stuff especially if I hear the same lousy reasoning that had been answered by a lot already. Like hearing people saying because we’re not that tall, we should stop playing basketball and rather support another sport. Ugh! But we should be picky. Arguing about sports isn’t totally a waste of time. Especially to us sports lover. But to argue about it with someone who never got serious into anything sporty, leave it. Forget about it. Just continue playing the game. And ignore the ignorance.
2. “Hit and Run”- There are these stuffs which usually give us the “itch” to respond even if it’s on a hostile ground. And most people there are like a bunch of cockatoos in a big cage that were trained to repeat the same words again and again. You have 2 options: first is to speak out and risk being ridiculed and second is to quickly leave. Well, there’s a third option and it is to combine the first two. If you have the chance to speak, grab it. Use it wisely. Avoid harsh words. Give your points. Thank the people. Then run! (Not literally but you can excuse yourself right after giving your speech). It’s easier to do on an online forum by the way. By doing this, there will be nothing else left for them to do but to “consume” your words. They can attack it, debunk it, and negate it. And because you’re gone, they may overanalyse it. And by doing so, surely some will consider it. Some will understand it. Then a few may have a change of heart and agree with you. Then you win.
3. Think like them – In Sun Tzu’s “Art of War”, you need to know your enemy as you know yourself. Like you, there must be a good thing why the other side thinks otherwise. Like in my 10 lessons in life post, one must consider both sides to achieve true wisdom. Dwell further on their reasons. Research about their sources. Look up for their possible responses on your points. Two things will happen on you after doing this. One is you’ll be more prepared defending your points and will be able to provide better counter-arguments against them. Second is you’ll learn more and find out that they are right all along. And you’re wrong. Either ways, you’ll get out as a victor.
|Effective since 2nd Century BC|
4. Agree + Criticize + Suggest = “Boom” – You need to go thru number 3 first before this. You’ll need to have a grasp of your competitor’s arguments. Once the other side is talking, listen very carefully. Look at his “positives”. Agree with them. With your knowledge of his side, help him by explaining his reasons further. Then try to give him more ammunition by adding points that he could have missed defending his side. You’ll get them listening to you by doing this. And they will also see your sincerity in the effort of resolving the issue.
While they are vulnerable, you can start pointing out the holes in their position. As they are under the impression that you are on the same frequency with them, they’ll be open with many things that you are saying. Then you can start giving out your points disguised as “suggestions”. Chances are some people who are supporting them will start to shift their thinking. In short, they’ll now agree with you.
5. Focus like a cat – I remember one time when our pet cat was on the kitchen sink as it looked intently at the direction of the stove. There was something moving under it. It was a mouse. And I had to wash my hand. So I tried to shoo away the cat to use the faucet but it won’t move. I have no choice. I washed my hand and got the cat’s feet wet. Usually, it would instantly jump once it feels the water touches its fur. But it didn’t move a bit. It stood still and waited for the mouse. That’s focus.
We should be like the cat when it comes to arguments and debates. Some will try to side track the discussion (mostly by trolls) especially if you start to pin the argument down. They will attack your person. They will even go with the technicalities like your grammar and your spelling among others. Don’t bother with them. Focus on the topic. Push harder with your arguments. Pin them down further into submission. Or until you both agree to disagree. That's your main goal.
We can’t expect people to think like us. We’re all different. I still catch myself basking on the idea that other people should think like me. On second thought, I should dread that possibility. So I don’t think giving up some secrets with you will matter because for sure we’ll all still have different approaches even if you read this. Our temper and maturity will also come into play. Just make sure that you are knowledgeable enough with your arguments. And learn to have more patience. And if you want to know how to have more patience, better find other guys to teach you their secrets. Then come back here and share it with me. Ok. Thanks. Bye.