Why are you yelling?
I've been married for a whopping 6 months and 22 days but, who's counting? In all seriousness though it's been an amazing experience because I've come to learn so much from just living with another person whom I love very much. The daily interaction with the same person could sometimes lead to friction and arguing.
Maura, my wife, calls these little disagreements "peanut butter and jelly fights". This means that sometimes we argue over little things, but because of stubbornness or pride, we let it escalate. Now, we haven't always been saints. Being human means that you inevitably come to disagreements with people in your family, circle of friends, and team. How you handle these moments will define what kind of relationships you have.
Being married enables me to further examine where I went wrong in these disagreements. I can more effectively notice patterns in her and in myself. I can then choose to be more aware of what I do when disagreeing with her. I can choose to win the conversation, even if it means hurting her, or I can win my wife over with love, even if it means losing the arguments at hand.
Also, who says there has to be a loser and a winner in every argument? That type of perception only leads to competitive debates that leaves one wallowing in hurt and the other one basking in worthless glory. We will visit that more at the end of this post. Still, for the sake of this post, I would like to use the terms winning and losing in this fun exercise.
If you want to be awesome at arguing while sucking at relationships then just follow this simple guide.
How to Win When Arguing
1. Increase the Volume. This works best when someone is a lot more polite than you. When you are louder than your spouse, friend, or whoever you’re arguing with, you give yourself the impression that your points are stronger. But beware of getting too loud from the get-go. You want to reserve your volume output just in case they fight back with a loud voice of their own. It’s ok because you have a little something extra in your reserve tank, gradually increasing the volume will help you win.
2. Interrupt them constantly. How can someone beat you argumentatively if you don't even give them a chance to speak? This tactic is effective when you do it as soon as they begin to speak. Interrupting them could lead them to getting frustrated with the situation. This could cause them to quit trying. Forfeit for them and a win for you!
3. Use your But wisely. If you don’t use tips 1 and 2 on this list and prefer to show some class, then this will definitely produce victories in your mind, which is what truly matters, right? The word “but” is so powerful. It is disarming. Here’s a rundown on how to use it properly. It is a conjunction word and the dictionary defines “but” as a word used to introduce something contrasting with what has already been mentioned. So when they finish their point just say something like, “yeah, but you do it too!” You totally disregard what the other person is saying to you. “But” implies that their point is invalid to you whether they are right or not.
4. Sarcasm is your friend. Do you enjoy using irony to mock or convey contempt? Then you can apply your rude habit to these occasions as well. And make no mistake about it: being sarcastic is rude. It’s not some cute trait you posses to bless humankind. How do you use it? Change the tone of your voice to mockery when repeating something they said. You can add more punch to this by rolling your eyes as you sarcastically agree with them. “Yeah, I’m always the dumb one compared to you because you are so holy and perfect, huh?” Something like that puts them on the defensive. It implies that you are resentful for their correction.
5. Cry. If you find yourself cornered with no way out because they are totally right and you’re in the wrong then you can play the victim. You can pretend to be hurt to gain sympathy. Maybe they’ll let you off the hook because they feel sorry for you. Maybe they will compromise with you if that wasn’t an option before. Or they may not be buying it. That’s why you have to make sure you don’t over do it. You want to manipulate them with your tears and not repel them with your fake wailing. You don’t want to channel your inner Fresh Prince of Bel Air.
6. Storm Off. Nothing else screams “I won” like a victory march away from the opposition. This is probably the most important tip I can give to you. This keeps the appearance that you still have your dignity. For dramatic effect, slam the door. Your neighbors and people around will think you’re crazy, but so what? You left with your head held high, Checkmate.
Pretty silly right?
So there you have it ladies and gentlemen. You can follow this silly guide and be a master illusionist, giving yourself and those you argue with the impression that you’ve won every time they engage in combat with you.
Nevertheless, if you want a solid relationship that is built upon trust, humility, and respect, then just do the exact opposite of what I’ve listed above. It will not be easy, but you will reap the benefits of having sound arguments that aren’t hurtful, offensive, and just plain awkward.
If the conversation is pointless, don’t engage in it. Just don't. Proverbs 26:4 says, “Answer not a [self-confident] fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him.” (AMP)
Have you ever made up with anyone you were on bad terms with and then asked yourself, "what were we fighting over?" It could be that you used one of the tips listed above and that hurt you more.
Now, leave me a comment about a time you or someone used one of the tactics listed above to "win" an argument. How did it make you feel? And share this with everyone you know.
Thanks for reading.