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How To Avoid An Argument

Updated on February 10, 2016

How To Avoid An Argument


Do you want to know how to avoid an argument? You can do it by the simple technique of asking questions. Instead of jumping in and disagreeing before you know any more than the other party about the subject under discussion, ask the person to state his case specifically and define his terms.

People who will, at the drop of a hat, argue on any subject under the sun, are people who enjoy playing on the feelings of others. Arguments are more a matter of temper than temperate conversations. It’s also good to remember that arguments don’t win friends.

Slow down

An argument, like a potential highway accident, can generally be spotted some distance away. And it can be avoided the same way: slow down and proceed with caution. In conversation, as in driving, the worst danger is speed. It is difficult to get hurt going slowly. You can avoid a serious dispute that could lead to a lot of heartache by just being careful when you come upon a situation that is likely to erupt.

Subjects such as politics and religion can almost always provoke an argument. Racial prejudices can also get people a little hot under the collar, and spark an argument. And if you will just apply this rule, ask your opponent to be specific - you may avoid a foolish argument. Once in a while you will find a person who won’t answer, not interested in logic, just wants to argue. In which case, smile and say “Lets agree to disagree” change the subject or walk away, it’s difficult to have an argument on your own.

Use questions

IF someone makes a statement that causes you to see sparks, and you feel the adrenalin pumping into your system, stop and ask, in a gentle manner and without sounding aggressive, “Why do you say that?” If you get another generalization, ask ‘Would you mind being specific about that?” Ask questions such as “Why?” “How do you know?” or “Why do you feel that way?” Instead of trying to prove the other person wrong, let him prove himself right, then you can sit back calmly while he gets in over his head, flounders and hopefully changes the subject, without further argument.

Set the tone

When you are in a meeting and someone makes a proposal, before you shoot it down with the usual “It won’t work” ask for more information, get the facts and then decide. How you react in similar situations will also set a tone that others may follow. It was the wise old Solomon who said “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

No one can even guess at the number of families who live between arguments in a state of uneasy truce. It takes two or more to argue. Make certain you are not one of them. Instead keep the pressure on the person who is a reckless driver conversationalist, by asking what he means by what he says. Make sure you are going slowly with both hands on the wheel and one foot on the brake. It works wonders.

People who know what they want in this world are those who know how to achieve their ends without arguing. Arguments seldom make points, only enemies.

Strong and bitter words indicate a weak cause! Victor Hugo

Toward better communication and leadership

Martin E Louw

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