Engaging in verbal arguments with other people can be very ineffective and toxic.
Its best to use persuasion in your discussions with other people and avoid arguing. The only logical reason to argue with someone is because you get paid to or its fun for you. Some people really enjoy arguing. If its light hearted and fun, it can actually be a good mental exercise. Otherwise, it can be a very toxic and emotionally draining activity. In most cases, people don’t change their minds when you argue with them. If anything, they will often strength the position they already have.
When seeking to change someone’s opinion, its best to use persuasion and friendly discussion. Below are five reasons verbal arguments are bad news:
#1: No One Cares About The Truth
People argue to WIN, they don’t argue to learn. Both people engaged in an argument are pushing their own agenda and will fight tirelessly against the opposing agenda. Once the argument starts, its all about winning. This is why when someone loses an argument, they rarely admit they are wrong. Instead, they change the subject or boil in animosity.
People usually have their image and ego invested in whatever belief they are trying to push and they don’t want to look weak or stupid. Both sides hope to come out looking superior by teaching the other person something new or making the other person look stupid. With both parties closed off to learning or being wrong, there is no hope for reaching any kind of agreement.
#2: Nothing Positive Will Be Accomplished
Arguing is a purely emotional activity. Even for people who enjoy it. It’s a mental boxing match to see who can knock the other person out. If the argument is based on a more serious matter, the fallout can permanently damage the relationship between the people involved. When emotions get high, people often resort to personal attacks, insults and abusive language to win the argument. Once the argument ultimately ends, it can leave permanent emotional scares and create feelings of resentment.
In addition, the topic of an argument is often a smokescreen to mask the real problem. People often hold things in for long periods of time in relationships to “keep the peace”. Then one day they reach their boiling point and explode over something trivial. An argument breaks out about a trivial matter, but the true problem is much deeper.
Its easy to find people who claim arguing is actually “good for your relationship” and brings you closer together. This is completely false. In reality, arguing just uncovers the real problem that needs to be solved. A problem that could have been uncovered in a much healthier way, had one or both people been more open and honest.
#3: It’s Based on Insecurity
When people are secure in their beliefs, they don’t care who agrees with them. The lingering doubt people have about their beliefs, actions or opinions is what leads them to seek approval and validation from others. When approval or validation is not given, the person tries to “argue” why they are right.
For insecure people, getting others to believe the same thing validates what they already believe. But when the belief is rejected by others, it causes their doubt to strengthen, giving them emotional distress.
For instance, everyone is confident in the fact that dogs bark. So, if someone were to argue that dogs never bark, its likely you would laugh at them. Why would you engage in an argument when you know without a doubt you are right? Instead, you would probably tell them they are wrong and carry on with your day without arguing.
You might assume the person claiming dogs never bark is either crazy or an idiot and feel bad for them. Being secure in your belief that dogs bark is what makes you disengage from an argument.
On the other hand, when it comes to topics with more doubt like politics, religion, etc. its easier to have some insecurity about your position. Thus, you often don’t want to listen to the opposing argument at all and get highly emotional if your beliefs are questioned.
A person who is secure in their position on a topic will not argue. They will simply state their position, explain why they hold it and move on. Its not important for others to agree with them or believe they are right because they KNOW they are right.
#4: It Means You Lack Power
Maybe you want to see a movie with a certain friend. You ask them and they are not interested. Their rejection leads you to press them harder in order to get what you want. They respond by making excuses you think are too weak to justify the rejection. Next thing you know, you end up in an argument.
In this situation both sides feel some level of powerlessness to control the situation. One person wants the power to make another person see a movie with them. The other person wants the power to control how they are perceived by the other. This is why people make excuses and try to “explain themselves”. Its an attempt to control perception. When it fails, the person might start to argue aggressively.
The problem with both sides of this coin is the need to control others behaviors or how other people see you. A person would only seek to do this if they feel some degree of powerlessness in the situation.
People fail to ask the more important question of WHY do I need this person to do what I want? Is it because I can’t find anyone else? And WHY do I need to control the “image” this person has of me? Is it because I value their approval of my actions more than my own approval of my actions?
#5: It Means You Lack Persuasion Skills
Once again, people with strong persuasion skills don’t have to argue. They also understand that if persuasion is not possible, arguing won’t work either. They accept that other people have free will and don’t always do what we want them to or see things how we want them to. All we can do is give them the right information to process. The rest is up to them.
With persuasion, there is no aggressive attempt to control another person’s behavior. It’s more like fishing. You put out the bait and the right fish will find it. Arguing is more like jumping into the water and trying to grab a fish with your hands.
People who are secure in their position simply don’t argue. If they can’t get someone to do what they want through persuasion, they find someone else who will. Otherwise, they accept the situation as a loss. Rather than seeking to control others, secure people give themselves and others the freedom to choose.