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Sharpen up Your ‘Argument Etiquette’ by Letting Someone Else Win for a Change

The Fallacy Of Arguments

The Fallacy Of Arguments

The fallacy of our seemingly perfect argument lies in the fact that we assume that the other person is reasonable and logical, just as we are. That is not true in both cases.

Most of us have gotten into an argument where no matter how hard we try, we cannot seem to get through the other person. Our perfectly logical and easy-to-understand explanation isn’t enough to close the argument, and that feels frustrating.

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Sharpen up Your ‘Argument Etiquette’ by Letting Someone Else Win for a Change

Sharpen up Your ‘Argument Etiquette’ by Letting Someone Else Win for a Change

https://medium.com/the-post-grad-survival-guide/sharpen-up-your-argument-etiquette-by-letting-someone-else-win-for-a-change-78fe92e9b455

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Key Ideas

The Fallacy Of Arguments

The fallacy of our seemingly perfect argument lies in the fact that we assume that the other person is reasonable and logical, just as we are. That is not true in both cases.

Most of us have gotten into an argument where no matter how hard we try, we cannot seem to get through the other person. Our perfectly logical and easy-to-understand explanation isn’t enough to close the argument, and that feels frustrating.

How Confirmation Bias Influences Our Communication

  • When we confront new information, we interpret it to support our existing beliefs. Any thought or discussion that confirms our prejudice and thought patterns seems appealing to us and is known as confirmation bias.
  • When we try to argue our case (because of course, we are right!) it strengthens the defence of the opposition.
  • However wrong it seems to us, their arguments are correct too according to the confirmation bias they have experienced, which has solidified their point of view.

Figuring Out Your Opponent's Point Of View

Get into the other person’s shoes and figure out why their point of view is so important for them.

Conflict is almost inevitable in an argument due to both the parties ‘doubling down’ on their confirmation bias. Instead of going the way of souring your relations, a better approach is to have an open mind and simply understand the other person’s point of view.

Right And Wrong In An Argument

Arguing with someone generally means that only one person can win by default, a productive and healthy debate can mean there is a good amount of learning for both the participants and the aim is to have a positive outcome benefiting all.

The subject of right and wrong is itself subjective, and the differences lie in what is significant and crucial for the individual. If we can understand this and learn the opposite sides of the issue, then we can work towards resolving the conflict.

Argument Etiquette

When engaging in a debate, here are a few things to take care of:

  1. Empathize with the other person’s point of view.
  2. Try not to make the debate a ‘he-said-she-said’ slinging fest, and keep it productive and solution-based.
  3. Do not argue in an email or text message, as it makes one lose the power of hand gestures, facial expressions, and the intonation of our words, which can change the context of the statements.
  4. Take a break and cool down, if it seems the conversation isn’t going anywhere.

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Showing empathy will lower the temperature of the debate and allow both of you to come to a resolution.

Try to appear open-minded

If you appear to be giving the other side’s position a thoughtful review, then the solution you propose will seem to be far more sensible. Furthermore, your opponent may come to your side without you having to do anything other than listening.

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Winning an argument often comes down to who can go the longest without contradicting themselves and keeping sound logic, not direct persuasion of the other party.

Anecdotal Fallacy

Using a single personal experience as the foundation of your argument or your big piece of evidence. 

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The form fights take
  • The first dynamic of an argument: you gather the information that reinforces your beliefs and neglect information that challenges them.
  • The second dynamic: the negative attribution theoryIf I’m treating you poorly, it’s because I had a bad day.
  • The third dynamic: the negative escalation cycle. This is when we instigate from a person the very behavior we don’t want.
Mistakes during arguments
  • "Holding: the absolute truth: We think that when we say something during a conflict, it is an absolute truth rather than a reflection of an experience. If I feel it, then it must be a fact.
  • Using the words "always" and "never:" I always do all the work/You never help with the work. Nobody likes to be defined by someone else.
  • Chronic criticism: It happens when you criticize so much that you leave the other person feeling like he can never do anything right.

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Manipulation by passive and covert aggression
Manipulation by passive and covert aggression
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What a covert aggressive looks like
  • They pretend to be innocent, ignorant, or confused when they did something awful. This tactic is to make you question your judgment.
  • They don't give a straight answer to a straight question, but evade the question or change the subject when cornered.
  • They lie by omission or distortion by deliberately being vague.
  • They may either respond with charm and flattery, of will suddenly be angry.
  • They'll play the victim and make themselves out to be the one in distress.
  • They rationalize by giving a plausible excuse for engaging in inappropriate behavior, or they will downplay their behavior.
  • Covert aggressives don't feel bad, but they know you do. They will send you on a guilt trip so you will lighten your accusations.
How to deal with a covert-aggressive person
  • Let go of the pretense that if you play nice, they will play nice.
  • Know your vulnerabilities and focus on the one thing that really needs to change: yourself. You can only control what you do.
  • Set some boundaries for yourself. Be prepared for the consequences and set a support system.
  • Memorize the list of tactics used by an aggressive person. Then it is easier to recognize the attack.
  • If you're willing to accept an excuse, know that they will fling excuses at you until one stick.
  • Stay calm and polite, and avoid sarcasm, hostility, or threats.
  • Without being rude, be specific about what you expect or want from the other person. Aggressives will only participate if they can get something out of it. If they have to lose, they'll make sure you go down too. Ensure you propose win-win solutions
Your advice monster
Your advice monster

When somebody asks you for advice about something, and before you can gain the full context, your 'advice monster' is like, "Oh, oh, I've got something to say here."

Ways advice-giving goes bad
  • We're solving the wrong problem: The first challenge that shows up is seldom the real issue.
  • Our advice is not nearly as good as we think it is: Cognitive bias makes us think we're brilliant at things even though we aren't.
  • Our advice monster will make us think that we are responsible for all the answers to save this person. It is exhausting, frustrating, and overwhelming.
  • For the person who's on the receiving end of your advice monster - they're getting the message that they are incapable of figuring this out by themselves, ripping away at their sense of confidence and autonomy.
Advice monsters are insatiable

As soon as somebody starts talking, your advice monster wakes up with, "Oh, I'm going to add some value to this conversation!"

Learn to tame your advice monster. To train it, you need to understand it.

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