My friend insists that Mariah Carey and Jim Carrey are cousins. I insist that they are not. An argument erupts.
It is temptingly easy to ridicule my friend, Google the answer to this question, and then point at her and laugh when she blushes upon seeing how very wrong she is.
But if I do that, have I really won the argument? No, I’ve googled something and made my friend feel like an idiot, so this actually makes me a jerk.
To truly win an argument is to persuade another person to consider and then, finally, accept your perspective. And to persuade takes skill, it’s an art.
So, how do you do it?
It helps to view an argument as, not a “fight”, but an opportunity to invite someone into your perspective.
What the heck am I talking about?
Okay, here’s an example. Let’s say I’ve invited a friend over for dinner. They knock on my door, I go to my door, open it, invite them in, and then punch them in the face. Hard.
Is that cool?
A) I shouldn’t just go around punching people, that’s mean. And
B) I’m going to lose my friend.
Similarly, oftentimes during arguments people invite others into their perspective by yelling their opinions and peppering them with insults designed to cut the other person down, which is sort of like verbally punching them in the face.
This does nothing to persuade the other person, it just makes them defensive and angry.
So, instead of yelling and making your friend feel like an idiot, it’s better to invite them into your perspective by speaking and acting in a way that will make them feel comfortable.
The best way to do this is to:
A) listen to their point of view,
B) show that you empathize with the steps they took to come to this POV, and then
C) calmly delve into how their acceptance of your POV will benefit them.
In conclusion, remember that an argument is simply an opportunity to invite someone into your perspective on things. And once you’ve extended the invitation into your way of viewing a matter it’s important to treat your friend like a guest by listening to what they have to say and then persuading them to see from your perspective.
It works, trust me. You just have to keep your cool and remember that this isn’t actually an argument, it’s an invitation into the wonder that is your mind ; )
What do you think is the best way to win an “argument”? Feel free to leave your comment here.