Why it is impossible to win an argument? (And how to win without fighting)
Have you ever been in a situation, were you know you are absolutely right, but it seems that no argument works on your partner. The atmosphere is only getting worse until you feel exhausted of useless efforts?
That is because word fights will never get you anywhere. It is even true in professional debates. Of course there is an arbitrator present (emotionally uninvolved!) who can count points and announce the winner. But it doesn’t mean that opponents actually change their beliefs. And it is so much more true in personal relationship, where emotions are involved and hormones go wilder and wilder with each word. Even if you had some impartial judge to ensure you were right all the time – would it help? The goal is not being right, the goal is to get to the point where you could get along an concentrate on better things than fighting.
So what are the reasons that make it so difficult to prove your point?
Your partner has a point of his own and is eager to prove it to you.
The same situation can be and usually is perceived very differently by two people concerned.
It is human nature to seek for confirmation to what they already believe. So if your boyfriend thinks you like to pick up partner and shout, he will ignore most of the situation, your arguments, and concentrate only on the tone of your voice. And your tone is very likely to be higher, because, of course, you’re getting more and more emotional.
When choosing what to believe, we tend to believe in something that makes us feel better. So it is more comfortable to believe, that your partner is being irrational then to believe you’re nuts yourself.
Emotional background is very important too. If somebody is completely making a mountain out of a molehill it might be, that there are some unspoken disappointment or frustration from the past, that is unconsciously present in this particular conflict.
What to do?
It is always important to try to take other person’s perspective. Firstly, it will reduce your own negative emotions, because you will have some explanations, for otherwise unintelligible behavior. It will save you a lot of brain cells and enable to find some more reasonable way to respond. Secondly, if you try to understand other person’s position, you will be rewarded with more attention to your own. It is extremely important to be understood for each of us. If your partner feels you understand him, he won’t be forced to defend his position and might listen to yours.
Helpful method to understand others better
Important as it is, it’s not easy to get into somebody’s shoes. Anyway it is worth trying. One way to develop empathetic skills is to relax, write down the details of the conflict, and then try to write it as if you were the other person. This simple exercise can help you find some clues about other person’s behavior. You don’t need to impersonate your partner perfectly, but this will help to realize that there is a way to approach same situation differently. So now you’re ready to calmly discuss things over - ask about his feelings and do your best to really listen, before switching on telling your own.
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