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Validate Their Feelings

Saying things like 'I understand why you'd feel that way...' or 'Anyone would feel like that in the same situation' validates the other person's emotions and completely disarms them.

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Look At It As A Conversation

Go back to the concept of talking with someone rather than talking to someone.

It can help keep the other person cool, which pretty much always means you've won the argument.

Make It All About Them
We naturally approach the world from our own points of view,

The key to successful persuasion is to show how and why something matters in relation to that person's life and experience.

Don't Lose Your Cool

Losing your temper will only anger the other person, which will heighten the argument.

If you can keep things calm, you might even be able to stop the argument. 

Switch Perspective

Step into the mind of the person you are arguing with and see their view.

This allows you to figure out what is influencing them and you can come back with a powerful counter-argument.

Keep Your Facts Straight

Quoting incorrect information weakens your point, which is essentially an automatic loss. 

Check your facts and avoid yelling about any old thing. If you aren't sure about something, you can always say, "I'd need to look into that."

Avoid Using Exaggerations

Words like "everybody, always, never" are broad generalizations.

They make your point unbelievable, while also angering whoever you're talking to.

Try To Be More Persuasive

During an argument, think like a salesperson and try to be as persuasive as possible. Facts don't persuade, emotions do.

To pull on the other person's heartstrings, toss in some imagery or relate the story back to them. Hopefully, they'll calm down and see things your way.

Use "I" Statements

Instead of casting blame and saying things like "you did this" and "you did that," try using "I" statements.

An 'I' statement stops people from becoming defensive when bringing up a topic of concern.

Respect Their Point Of View

The best way to keep an argument calm is to be as kind as possible. Respectfully acknowledge the other person's viewpoint, even if you don't agree with it.

Say things like "I see what you're saying there," or "That's a good point.

Try To Politely Disengage

If the other person is truly getting out of control, it's often best to disengage. A perfect phrase to drop is: 'If you say so.'

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RELATED IDEAS

Name-calling, attacking a person’s character and using someone’s beliefs or traits to call their argument into question.

For example, you can’t say that someone’s argument about dogs being better than cats is weak because they are also a Republican. It offers no real support to your argument for cats being better and it makes it look like you can’t think of anything better than poking at their personal beliefs.

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IDEAS

  • People think emotionally, so forget facts
  • When people are asked to explain their beliefs about how a given thing works, they’ll actually become less confident in those beliefs.
  • When people have their self-worth validated in some way, they tend to be more receptive to information that challenges their beliefs.
  • During a debate, you’re more likely to make progress if you can appeal to the moral concerns of the people that you’re talking with.
... without making enemies:
  • Make sure you communicate you are not there to fight (using your tone of voice, for example).
  • Avoid making statements; instead, ask questions.
  • Defend yourself with confidence, but without coming across as antagonistic.