How to Argue Better: For Geniuses

Arguing Action Figures

Forget G.I.Joe and Barbie, buy your kids Argueman action figures.  Hours of fun for the kids.
Forget G.I.Joe and Barbie, buy your kids Argueman action figures. Hours of fun for the kids.

How to Argue

Do you know how to argue well? Follow these simple tips for arguing to make sure you start what you'll never finish. Just ask yourself, "Why would you not want to argue better than everybody else?" "What's so cool about not arguing?" "Why would anyone in his right mind ever let an argument end?" What kind of person says to himself, "I don't want to argue with this jerk?"

Become Better at Arguing

Could you improve your arguing skills?

You're probably saying, "No, of course not. I never have any trouble arguing, because I am sooooo perfect." You probably think "I'm the best arguer in the whole wide world."

Fine go ahead and stop reading. I don't need you. I can argue just fine on my own.

Don't argue on an empty stomach

Don't confuse your combatant with dinner.  They can't argue from inside your stomach.
Don't confuse your combatant with dinner. They can't argue from inside your stomach.

Success Depends on "YOU"

Delete the word "I" from your vocabulary. Infuse the word "you" as much as possible.

Miraculously transform a statement like: "I would like to talk, because I am concerned" into "You don't give a crap about anything. You are always screwing up everything. It's all your fault."

Those not well versed in the art of arguing fall for it every time. The "you" exchange lures the novice to defend himself, only to be met with another dose of "you" artillery.

Agree to Disagree

Agreeing to disagree isn't as easy as it sounds. Armchair psychologists tell you that it is a great way to solve conflict. I'm going to agree to disagree with all of them. It doesn't mean AGREEING to disagree with another person; it means agreeing to always DISAGREE.

Your policy and commitment must be to disagree at any opportune moment, with anyone, at any time, for any reason. This is much more work than you think. You have to be ready at all times to say, "That's a bunch of bull and you know it."

Agree to disagree can also mean one of the best argument strategies. You simply say, "I Agree" but you do it in a sarcastic tone. In effect, you are agreeing with your words in order to disagree with nonverbal communication. This is one of the best ways to get the ball rolling. Other variations include:

  • "You're right, you're ALWAYS right."
  • "That's the BEST idea I've ever heard, EINSTEIN."
  • "What would I do without YOUR help, GENIUS."


For some reason when you use this tactic it's better to mention "Einstein" or the word "genius." And don't forget to roll your eyes, shake your head, and sigh.

Example: "YEAH, I agree, agreeing to disagree is a GREAT way to resolve conflict, I should have thought of that. You're such a GENIUS!" (eyes rolling)

Laugh

Laughter is the best medicine for hypoargumentitis (annoyingly low levels of arguing). Sometimes laughing is enough to get the argument started, but it is sure to sustain what you have labored so hard to begin. When you laugh, the other person sees your happy facial features and hears your delight. Quickly, they too will want to share in your joy. It's contagious just like yawning. The whole room usually gets into it.

Plus you are showing confidence in your argumentative stance and keeping your opponent guessing, even if you don't have anything to say. This is the best defense for an assertive person who uses those despicable, ridiculous argument killing "I statements." Here's an example;

  • "I would like to talk to you about yesterday."
  • (Laugh)
  • "I don't think it's funny"
  • (Laugh) You're right, I agree. (eyes rolling... agreeing to disagree)
  • "I'll talk to you when you are ready to talk"
  • (Laugh) I'm ready, but you don't seem ready. You look upset.

This brings us to the next suggestion...

Point Fingers

Don't forget the classic "point the finger" technique.  It still works after all these years.  "Smell it.  Smell it."  "Yuck, I don't know where that's been?"
Don't forget the classic "point the finger" technique. It still works after all these years. "Smell it. Smell it." "Yuck, I don't know where that's been?"

Keep the Coffee Hot

When the conversation gets cold, don't pour a new cup of argument. Just add more delicious hot subjective topics to the brew. Here's a list of ideas to keep the argument hot and flowing.

  1. Who/What is the best ___________ ? Whether it's a musician, basketball player, political party, religion, everything on the menu will be good as long as it is your opinion and you know you are right and you are going to change the other person's opinion. Remember to agree to disagree with whatever their views are.
  2. Money. "Keep your money where you mouth is." Let your mouth flow with statements of how it should be spent, who works harder for it. You get the idea.
  3. Arguing. Even arguing can be a topic of an argument. Who argues the most? Who starts arguments more often? Explore these topics when things cool down.
  4. The Future. Not always smart to bet on, but the future is one of the best argument topics. Speculate about anything, as long as it hasn't happened yet. Pick something far in advance. Don't argue about things that will be revealed soon such as the color of the next car that comes around the corner of a busy street. You could, however, use this as a springboard to argue about color. "It's navy blue." "It's black." "Nu uh." "Yeah huh."
  5. Why? Who, what, when, where, and how just don't help arguing as much. Learn to ask "why?" This can be as simple as asking why someone bought a Ford or why someone believes in God. Anticipate what your opponent may say, and then fire another "why?" To keep it fresh you can essentially ask "why" by asking things like: "What were you thinking when you..? How in the world did you expect to..? What superhero did you think you were when you..? Where were you going to get the money for...?"

Last Words

Remember that the secret to arguing well is to focus not on figuring out who is right, but telling the other person how they are wrong. Remind yourself, this person will probably not remember what you argued about a year from now, but they sure will remember how wrong they were. It's not easy, but it is extremely rewarding.

Make sure to get the last word, because anything less would be quitting. And quitters never win arguments.

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Comments 7 comments

Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 7 years ago from Stepping past clutter

Hey Blake, Haven't read a Hub from you in a very long time. This one contains the dear humor that flows from your fingertips.  Fun to rediscover it.

I didn't learn how to quit arguing until I met my husband's family.  A few of them can be very cruel and taught me that arguing is not about learning or exploring ideas but all about beating someone up... so I quit engaging!

Maybe debate lessons are in order, but I tend to turn my head or the subject these days.


SEM Pro profile image

SEM Pro 7 years ago from North America

LOL You are right! You're always right Blake! Sarcasm is the only way to argue properly! (NOT!) This is the best hub you've ever written Einstein! (eyes rolling) What would we do without your advice Genius? > | < I'll comment when you're ready to comment back!

Ahhh - I'd be a lot better at this if your wonderful conflict resolution points hadn't been so great months ago :( Fabulous hub - loved it!!!


Blake Flannery profile image

Blake Flannery 7 years ago from United States Author

Storytellersus,

You are exactly the type of person this hub was written for. Now you can match wits with the inlaws. Good luck.

Brenda,

You'll have to explain to me what "oints" are first before we get into an argument. Am I just to stupid to figure out your supreme sentence and word construction?

SEM Pro,

You would show up and write something like that. You messed up my comments section for this hub. You are always ruining everything. Why would you do that? You are unbelievable. Thanks a lot for the earth shattering comment, Einstein.


banefulpurity profile image

banefulpurity 7 years ago

I like to argue - pick me! pick me!

Very inspiring - I shall try it out this weekend because we always argue on Sundays. And by "we" I do mean everyone I come in contact with. Disorder? I think not.


Ben Zoltak profile image

Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

Is this the first piece I've ever read by you Mr. Flannery? Yes it is. You know it is. Well maybe you don't know, but you think you might know.

Ah, I need more practice. I can't believe I've gone this far in life and have never been presented with the basics of arguing. This will come in very handy if I ever start teaching teenagers again! Also, I haven't seen that MP skit in a long time.

Thanks for both.

Ben


Blake Flannery profile image

Blake Flannery 5 years ago from United States Author

Ben,

Whatever...Yes you are a good arguer. (sigh and eyes rolling)


Robert Sacchi profile image

Robert Sacchi 14 months ago

That is a good list. Another thing to consider is every logical falacy. False logic has probably won more arguments than true logic. It has the plus of annoying anyone making a logical argument.

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