Adonis Diaries

Do we have to win arguments? Do we have to avoid arguments?

Posted on: November 4, 2011

Do we have to win arguments? Do we have to avoid arguments?

How often have you heard “Please, I’m in no mood for arguing?” Why arguing has acquired such a terrible connotation? I read an article on the blog a lengthy post on how to avoid arguing sessions, strong with minute technical details to follow, a step-by-step road map to discourage another party in resuming his endeavor. And yet, Dan Rockwell is very pleased to extend his “The Top 25 Ways to Win Arguments”

  1. Don’t focus on winning or losing; focus on achieving objectives.
  2. Interrupting to make your point is pointless.
  3. Be smart not right. You aren’t finding the right answer; you’re searching for the better alternative.
  4. Focus on progress rather than perfect solutions.
  5. Trying to solve the past is futile; you can, however, move in better directions.
  6. Give ground on peripheral or non-essential points.
  7. Keep things simple. Complexity stalls solutions.
  8. Never tell someone what they think; ask them.
  9. Never let someone tell you what you think.
  10. Your “opponent” will use over-statements and unrealistic conclusions to invalidate your goals.
  11. Your opponent will make you angry. When they do, you lose.
  12. Keep an open posture.
  13. Remove barriers and obstacles. Create a clear path across the table or desk. Better yet step away from the desk.
  14. Physically align yourself with them. Rather than face-to-face, stand beside.
  15. Talk while taking a walk.
  16. Be pleasant but not jovial.
  17. When they raise their voice, lower yours.
  18. Use “and” more than “but” because “but” is an eraser. For example, I agree with you but…, diminish agreements.
  19. Show respect; don’t get personal.
  20. Identify your opponent’s objectives and agree where possible. Help them win before you win.
  21. Explore your opponent’s options.
  22. Address your opponent’s fears.
  23. Use experts and research.
  24. Speak to the heart – if they have one.
  25. Stay on point. Distractions are normal.

Bonus: Solve issues before arguments erupt.” End of tips for winning an argument.

These tips are pleasant and very refreshing: I was expecting aggressive tips. What come to mind was “are those tips related to argumentation”?  For example, are those tips targeting candidates running for election to a public office? I had a feeling that the tips were more related to having productive conversation, a give and take swapping of ideas, concepts, facts, ideas… Sort of getting the most from investing time into talking with another person… How do you feel?

The first tip is “Don’t focus on winning or losing; focus on achieving objectives”, thus, engaging into argumentation implicitly is related to a set of objectives that you want to “relay, win over people, disseminate…”  Does that mean, the other party in the arguing, necessarily has another set of objectives, or he is just reacting to a preempting “invading” opponent who takes pleasure in harassing you and wasting your precious time, and taxing your solid nerves?

Almost every tip is ground for a short essay to build upon.  It is a shame that the fashion is list of top this, top that…

Why should we avoid arguments, or learn Argument Avoidance Techniques?

Is a friendly conversation supposed to be reduced to an exercise of “I poke you” and you poke me back?  When engaging in a conversation, it is fitting to clearing our time schedule, and focus on what is discussed.  All kinds of conversations are opportunities to picking up bits of valid information and ideas:  It is one of the mechanism of restructuring our models on how we view the world, the surrounding, and dealing with people.

Otherwise, all the ideas and information will be stored in the labyrinth of the memory and not available to be used immediately.  Body language, voices, emotions, and heated arguments are expressions of some form of experiences.  Even when we tend to ejaculate truths, we are expressing implicit experiences of society’s  ”stick and carrot” control mechanisms.

Incoherent conversations are expressions  of incoherent mind structure, a state of chaotic sentiment related to the topic under discussion.  Argument Avoidance Techniques are ways of imposing our logic for understanding a conversation; thus, we are robbing the talker his right for his own logic and rational system and diminishing our database of diversification on how the mind works.

It is far more exciting and remunerating if we manage, amid incoherence and mind-sets, to asking pertinent questions that would demonstrate our honest disorientation. Argument Avoidance Techniques are short-term victories that leave bitter tastes after the conversation is over:  We were impressing on the other talker that we are “professional” in conversation but not necessarily interested in learning anything on the topic and kind of disrespectful of emotions and subjective ideas.

Most of us are shy engaging in discussions for many reasons.  I was shy for most of my life, and still is very awkward handling discussions:  My surrounding was not of the talker type and we barely discussed in the family any worthy topic.  Fact is, my ignorance of the world and society and my introvert attitudes were stiff barrier into exposing my ignorance any further; it was better keeping silent so that the audience might be fooled that I am wiser than what I am.

Effectively sharing in a conversation requires practice, a level of learning, and knowledge.  Even asking pertinent question require a good level of knowledge, intelligence, and training.  Thus, expecting people to applying “Argument Avoidance Techniques” and keeping a certain control during conversation is robbing us from valued opportunities coming from people who are knowledgeable but not “intelligent verbally” or trained in confronting audience.

It is not pertinent focusing on diagnosing the structure of the conversation while the topic is ignored or the confused experiences of people are not attended to.  We might as well learn to accepting the facts “as is” and as they come and then remodeling what we have learned into a valid model that suits our logic and rational mind. A conversation is an oral outlet to another perspective in intelligent thinking, of what is rattling our life and concepts.

Argument Avoidance Techniques are great for introvert people:  they initiate them to navigating into uncharted territories and a good training to getting more sociable, openly expressing their ideas (as good as the others’), positions, and emotions.

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November 2011

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