The Compulsion to Argue
A verbal debate is natural, and it's good to share opposing views and to hear arguments. The problem with online arguments is that there are no boundaries. Depending on the forum, almost anyone in the world can share their opinions with you at any time of the day or night.
There is no telling yourself that your mind is at rest now. You're ever alert looking for an argument. The reason is that you're addicted to the flood of adrenaline and dopamine that comes when you feel like you "win."
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If you decide to post something online that triggers an argument, choose your response. The person with the greatest strength is the one who does not always respond but choose when and how they engage.
If you decide to engage in a productive discussion, see where things go. If the comment comes from a bad-faith argument, either don't reply or reply with a neutral comment, "I hear you." If you need to vent, do it to someone who at least understands you.
But it can become a problem when you become obsessed with sharing your opinions - when you won't "give up" until you've made your point to the nth degree.
Online arguments can consume hours, even days. If you find yourself in a situation where online fighting is taking so much time that it's wrecking your work and life, it's time to get some perspective.
We won't change our mind about something important because someone wrote a scathing comment. Instead, we may feel hurt and angry.
If you want someone to change their view, you usually need to share your perspective in a way that is not charged with negative emotions. If you don't think your comment will bring any good to you or them, don't comment.
When you post something controversial online, you're inviting people with different views to engage. In some cases, you may feel so strongly about a certain topic that you think it is worth putting out there, regardless of the consequences.
However, the most polarising topics are best discussed in real-time in a small group with familiar people. In a personal conversation, we are more able to modulate what and how we share.
Choose not to post anything you know will provoke an argument if you don't think it's a good use of your time to debate it.
Instead, share those thoughts with people you can have a meaningful discussion with or journal about them for yourself.
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