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Have a Good Argument and Not Get Offended

Reading Time: 9 minutes

Wow, what a year we had last year and still going on this year. It’s not just the plague that completely blew up our lives and many people’s livelihood. It was that people seem to have forgotten how to have a discussion. We have forgotten how to disagree with each other, and that disagreeing is actually ok.

Now there are those who argue for the sake of arguing. Yet you also come across times that you will find something out about a fellow guy you didn’t know about. Maybe it is an off- remark and suddenly you learn something completely new about someone you thought you knew. The curiosity you have can help develop a stronger bond with your fellow friend.

Then again an argument leads to discovering that you didn’t know your friend as well as you thought. Maybe he completely has an opposing view to what you have. Yet does that disagreement mean you have to throw that friend to the curb? Honestly, no. You can still be friends. You can still have a deep and meaningful relationship even if that person has a view that is diametrically opposed to your values. Any way you look at it rousing disagreement can be good.

Yet we seem to run from arguments. Colleges have stopped allowing active discussions and arguments from happening. Once the institutions of free-thinking, if you don’t follow what the teacher believes you can be given a failing grade simply because the teacher doesn’t want to argue out their facts.

This has done no one of the millennial or gen z any favors. So now instead of having an open and honest discussion or even a good grounded heated argument, all they can do is scream and disrupt the argument. Is it because they are wrong? Well to us older folks it is because we see them as being wrong. Whether they are or not, the youth of today avoids having an open honest discussion. 

This goes for both sides of the idea aisle. They hear something they reactively disagree with; they run to their block button and shut the other side down. Right when the mind is really getting in the right position to learn.

How I approach an argument.

Now when it comes to social media arguments or a discussion in person. I always have a set of rules I follow. The Rules are actually pretty simple. Enter with my thoughts or I may simply ask questions. Now social media I will often give a differing opinion as the opening volley. Now, many people may think this is trolling and it may be a little. I like to judge who wins by who loses their cool first. That also means if the other person is not able to pack their argument up and resorts to name-calling. So if I get blocked on Twitter for asking questions or backing up my statement then that is a point for me. Why? That is because they are the ones who instantly shut the channel of communication first. 

Now I don’t block people but does that mean I have never lost an argument? If you chalk it up to winners or losers, yeah I have lost many arguments or two, but they are rare. If the person hangs in there then and we actually talk it out that is also a win for me it is also a win for the other person too. That is because we have both left that discussion smarter.  

Photo by Roland Samuel on Unsplash

This is because I view arguments not as I much crush my foe but instead I want to tick the weak minded people off. That way the stronger better discussions can happen. Yet I find this to be in such rare instances these days. Too many people just get worked up way too easily. They could possibly change my mind. That is rare many times in discussion neither person is going to fully change a person’s mind right then and there. It takes a while for the information to percolate throughout the brain before its subtle shift happens. Much like iron cooling is never instant. 

I view arguments to be a great thing to practice. Yeah, it is fun just to get a person worked up but it is always better when you can have a good discussion no matter how heated, and if they can walk away still respecting each other for their differences that is the best.

Why Are Arguments Good?

Having arguments and deep discussions are important to you and your friends for many reasons. Yeah, it may be a bit uncomfortable to find out that your friend likes chocolate while you believe that Vanilla is far more versatile. You may have a deep-seated belief over one topic and it can be an amazing revelation to find out that the person who you have known for years has a completely different point of view. It helps you to have that argument and dive into the heated discussion even more.

Limit tester

You learn something new when you have a disagreement with a person. First off you see that they have a limit of what they will tolerate. Not that arguments have to degrade to blows, in fact, if a person gets so worked up about a topic that they are going to fight about it that show that the other person actually won the argument. 

Having a good healthy argument means that you are having your limits pushed. You are being forced to look at a certain belief from a new angle. It allows you to find out if that belief is a solid fact or is it just a point of view you thought was a fact. Many times that revelation can be scary and extremely uncomfortable. Yet if you are able to hold your cool and not let your amygdala run rampant you may see that you were actually right. If you are right you will surely learn a new facet of your belief and grow your understanding even more.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

It is a means to stress your level of comfort

Arguments are rarely pleasant that doesn’t mean that they can’t be civil. You can easily have a lively discussion as long as you are being open. Yet many times in the world you will have an argument that will go from lively to a heated argument. That is when the comfort zone gets stressed. That heat is actually good for you and the stance you are taking. That heat will either burn away the crap you have been lying to yourself about or it will reinforce your beliefs. Either way, you will grow because of that discomfort you will learn more about yourself and what you are able to tolerate.

Better understanding

When you have an open discussion with someone you are doing just that. You are opening yourself and the other person is opening to you. When that happens even if you don’t agree on everything. When you are around a group of people who agree with you, there is a lack of growth. Yet if you find out that someone doesn’t agree with you and you approach that new discovery with curiosity and willingness to ask the hard questions you start learning and growing.

Yeah, there are some folks who believe that you are being insensitive by pushing their beliefs a bit. These people really don’t have the heart to deeply examine their core set of beliefs around a set topic. When these people are pushed they are often the ones that degrade the argument into physical violence. Their world shrunk back to the time of cavemen who don’t understand their own emotions. These people are the ones who are threatened and they can only react to their fear.

If you can remain calm and argue with a sensible line of thought you have the ability to learn something new about all those involved.

It makes your line of thought even purer

You know how I was talking about the heated discussion? That heat also burns away any miss thoughts. If you have any wrong beliefs the heat of an argument will actually morph your thoughts and they will shape themselves to being better and be truer. 

It can be uncomfortable because sometimes it appears that our belief if it disappears completely that we will not know who we are anymore but in fact, you will be better if you express your thoughts. Much like smelting of iron ore is the burning and separating the iron from the trash, your uncontested thoughts will have the impurities burned away so that only the truest of the truth will exist.

Photo by Ludomił Sawicki on Unsplash

It teaches patients 

It can be tough and almost agonizing to sit and wait while someone expresses their ideas to you. You have the wicked retort you want to throw in but you want to get all the information first. To have a good honest discussion it is actually better to hear before you speak. The phrase I hear is to understand before seeking to be understood. This can be hard to do online in short 280 characters and this is the biggest drawback of social media. You have to be so brief in your words that it is hard to hold your tongue. 

If you can hold off and understand what they are thinking before you but in then you will actually see that they are more on your side than your thought. Their path just bears off to one side of the other.

Problems with Arguments

The biggest problem you will have with arguments today is that people take it so personally. Yeah, the mantle they believe they are wrapping themselves around is for a just cause. Yet when someone speaks in opposition of that belief it’s almost instant hair on fire. Why is this a problem?

We Take it Personally

For some reason, we take any dissenting comment to be an attack on our person. We, as a whole, think that a person who doesn’t agree with us is corrupting our very person instead of a person containing their own individual thought. Yet much like our thoughts are only ours. We think a thought and nobody else can know how that thought will affect us. 

Some people see a disagreement as being an assault on our persons. While other people can take an argument and see what it really is. A discussion or a full-blown emotion-fueled argument is just a sharing of ideas. Yeah, you may have a thought you hold very dearly, or it can be just a one-off. Either way, it is still nothing more than a thought and that thought doesn’t define you in any way. You may have invested a lot of time and energy but you have the power to change that thought to whatever you would like that thought to be. That is your option and in your power.

So if a person doesn’t agree with you that is fine. That is their thought. They can call you a cocksucker and you know what that means? I will leave it to Dalton from Road House

No. It’s two nouns combined to elicit a prescribed response.

Dalton – Road House (1989)

You don’t have to respond if they want you to. Just because they get mad doesn’t mean you have to too. In fact, that will often make them angrier because they find out that they are not able to manipulate you as easily as they are manipulating themselves. So don’t take it personally, take it as a whole and look at the facts. 

We don’t set boundaries

Often discussions are just nothing more than a free-for-all at the Double Dues. When a good and open discussion will lay out the ground rules. Instead of discussing the facts of the argument we start dragging extra items into the argument and then suddenly you are no longer on topic and you are comparing apples and oranges.

So layout what the ground rules. If someone strays off-topic then say we can talk about that after we are done with the facts of this topic.

Take the emotion out of the argument

The biggest reason discussions turn into arguments is because of fear and we allow fear to run our actions. This is where threats and name-calling come into place. This is also why I say when someone dips into that type of argument I won. That’s because I don’t want to be in that mud hole. I like the thrill of a heated discussion but when the person is dipped into this sad part of their mind where they become so afraid of what might be true without actually thinking. There is no reasoning with them. The discussion is over and they have turned their reasoning mind off.

How to have a productive Argument

So how do you have a good argument where you can exchange ideas and still hold respect for each other even if you will never agree on the topic at hand? There are some ways to do that.

Stay Calm

Yeah, you can stay calm even if you feel as if you are losing the discussion. In all reality, there is no score. Your thoughts are still your thoughts. The person you are talking to their thoughts is their thoughts.

Each person’s thoughts may generate a whole flurry of emotions but each person is responsible for their own emotions. If something is said you may want to feel as if they are striking at you personally, but it is your choice to make it mean something or to let it mean nothing at all.

Words have power but only if you allow them to hurt. 

Samuel Adams Joshua Reynolds, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

If emotions start getting heated in yourself you can always remember this little quote from Samuel Johnson

You raise your voice when you should reinforce your argument.

Samuel Johnson

Stay Curious

Ask the most important question of any discussion, Why? Why do you think that’s the solution? Why do you believe that? Why, is the great discussion word to keep asking. Keep pressing. If they ask you why then it is your turn to answer. Stay curious throughout the whole discussion. This allows for both sides to feel as if they are being heard. If the emotions get heated again they need to remember that the

You can ask other questions too. Like Who, When, How, and What. All questions are needed when you are having a discussion.

Listen

Many times we have our own set of thoughts and we battle to get our words in. We aren’t really listening, we are just waiting for there to be an opening for us to throw our own opinions in. So listen to what the other person is saying. Seek first to understand. Don’t worry about you being understood till you have the other person’s view understood.

Doing that will help your ability to have a discussion that can get lively, but will rarely get heated or even break down to calling each other names. If you stick to these rules you can grow in your understanding of other people and they will be open to hearing your side of the argument.

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About Bryan Goodwin

I like being able to help people find their "why" and achieve the personal freedom they desire. Besides writing for Relaxed Male I also am a life coach. By helping men find the leader that is found in each and every one of us. I do this by encouraging men to get outdoors and find the balance they are missing. Realize that they need to be in contact with the outside as often as they can. It is not only good for them but for their families and relationships.

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