12 Most Surefire Ways to Lose an Argument
As diverse as we are, people are bound to have occasional disagreements in their business, social, and family lives. Arguments shouldn’t be about winning, per se, but we do “lose” whenever our point doesn’t get across to the other party. Real dialogue is about moving closer to truth and understanding. Here are twelve behaviors that will undoubtedly lead to unresolved conflict.
Interrupting someone while they are expressing a thought only shows that you weren’t listening in the first place. Even when you don’t agree with others, they still have a right to state their truth. Hold your tongue and hope they extend the same courtesy.
2. Roll your eyes
Obstinate adolescents have mastered this technique of disrespect. This is one of the most dismissive behaviors possible. Unless you’re trying to evoke the response of an irate parent, don’t do it.
3. Be accusatory
Finger pointing and starting sentences with “You always…” immediately place others on the defensive. People rarely listen while they’re playing defense. Make your statements about the actions and not the person.
Group attacks pretty much say that you don’t have enough confidence or enough reason to take on the other party. Only interventions require a group effort and they have an appropriate time, place, and method.
Assigning motives to others instead of getting clarification will get you into trouble each and every time. Don’t waste your energy trying to mind-read and analyze. The only reasoning you have to decipher is your own. That’s task enough.
6. Encroach on personal space
The intimidation factor usually comes into play when an argument has no merit. Once again, this action places people on the defensive. If your aim is to bully, then this approach is suitable. Otherwise, leave the pitbull tactics to the dogs. (If you’re a pitbull advocate, no offense meant…)
Let’s face it. Sometimes, a well-placed expletive can succinctly convey a thought in a way that proper language cannot. However, obscenities tend to be inflammatory. People rarely hear much after the expletive of choice. Keeping it clean keeps it clear.
8. Walk out/hang up
This is the adult equivalent of “I’m not playing with you anymore.” It’s understandable if you need a few moments to gather yourself. Calmly announce it and step away. Return with resolution as a priority.
No one wants to feel insignificant. When someone is emotional, they often just want to be heard. In the heat of an argument, laughing as a response is belittling. Honor your opponent by taking what they have to say seriously.
10. Bring up the irrelevant
Meandering and finding fault with every thing your opponent has done since birth is unnecessary. Don’t dilute the issues at hand by grasping at unrelated matters. Keep focused.
11. Raise your voice
Yelling doesn’t make your point any truer, just louder. It only leads to escalation, not clarity. Anger beats rationale each and every time. If your true intent is to resolve the issue, keep it calm. (Besides, being ridiculously calm freaks people out…)
12. Get emotional
The vortex of emotion is gripping. However, it’s often blinding and as a result, self-defeating. Feel what you feel but don’t get caught up in it. Start to develop the ability to see yourself in the moment. As difficult as it is, step out so you can step up.
Disagreements will come and go — there’s no sense in making them additionally unpleasant. Eliminate these twelve behaviors and enhance your communication effectiveness.
Which behaviors do you need to improve upon or eradicate?
Featured image courtesy of Tambako the Jaguar via Creative Commons.