Have you ever come across people who love to argue? Not those people who might sometimes disagree with you, but those who disagree for disagreement sake? The kind who argue because they love to? They enjoy proving you otherwise, just for the thrill of it. Oh, yeah, they sure are around aplenty! It could the wife, the boss at work, that friend from high school, or the neighbor with acute political views.
Arguing with them is like that proverbial fight with the pig - at the end of the argument, you will realize that while you were getting all dirty, the pig was quite enjoying it! What do you do if you unwittingly get dragged into an argument with them?
Don’t tell them they are wrong.
If there’s one thing the argumentative kind love, it is being told that they are wrong. They’ll fight even harder to prove themselves right! It is a kind of a defense mechanism to them. Use ‘hmmm’ instead. The hmmm with the right sound indicates that you know that they are wrong but would rather spare yourself the time and energy! It’s difficult to get them to see your point of view, as they think they are always right.
Don’t suggest what they should do.
For one, they do not need any advice or suggestion from you. Everything you say will be met with an excuse or reason why your suggestion is not feasible. They will expertly find 'problems' in every solution and leave you breaking your head in disgust. Instead, tell them what you want them to do, not as a request, not as a suggestion, not as an advice, just in plain sentences – say, ‘I need you to do this’ and not ‘can you do this?’
Don’t use words like cool it, take a chill pill, relax…
This can be quite the trigger to have an extended argument. The people who argue just for the sake of arguing feel that everything around them, people, circumstances, events, etc. are to blame. Telling them to chill, can make matters icy! This can misfire and lead to you being accused of not being sensitive enough to their feelings. Rather, it’s you who needs to take a chill pill! Take a break and tell them you can get back to the topic sometime later when both are in a better frame of mind.
Don’t get carried away.
Pause for a moment and think if the argument means anything to you at all. Did you get sucked in without wanting to? Is proving yourself right so important? Does the outcome of the argument affect you in any way? If not, then there’s no need to carry on arguing. Excuse yourself and walk away.
Find humor or common ground.
Humour is a good way of exiting an argument without hurting yourself or the other person. But humor has a fine line of balance between causing offense and lightening the situation. Another way is to find something common for both of you to agree on. Yet another way is to divert the topic to something more pleasant.
Do you deal with argumentative people often? How do you deal with them?