I bet you get into arguments all the time. Who doesn’t ? Even if you don’t want to, others will draft you into one. Often without asking.
Literally every conversation can be turned into an argument. It does not matter which subject you are talking about, with little effort and skill from one of the conversees, an argument can be created. You could be talking about pizza or inter-stellar space travel to a group of Amish elders and still end up in an argument. I have had arguments with children as young as 6 years old. One time I was talking about the powers of chocolate and got into an argument with my cousin who was 5 years old at that time. Eventually we agreed to disagree that chocolate gave my cousin superpowers. It was a tie, but somehow he figured he won and I was not going to start another argument with him. But it was tie.
Anyway, arguments make us think. Sometimes logically and sometimes illogically – as is the case with mutant super chocolates – but they make us think. Problem solving makes us feel happy and accomplished and arguments help us validate each others solutions. It also helps in sharing knowledge from one person to another and thus making us all a bit more smarter.
As with most things in life, arguments have good and bad side to them. The bad side is, of course, losing the argument. That feeling of sickness one feels the moment one realizes that their line of thought is wrong is a terrible one. Once that feeling is recognized in the pit of their stomachs, almost every one scrambles to find a possible exit to the argument without losing face. This is one skill that seems essential if you want to survive our age of information overload since anyone with a smartphone can look up google and destroy your argument. And usually you only get a few chances to derail the other person’s line of reasoning before you run out of time, so you have to be precise and ruthless with your false argument attack.
The first step to becoming a master at this evil art is to understand that anyone can do it. All it takes is focus and confidence. Second, practice. There are many ways of redirecting an argument from its current path, but all of them can be mastered by practicing them as often as possible. There are so many choices like, challenging irrelevant details in the other person’s statements, or questioning the other person’s skill or motive or even direct attack on their personal issues. Although this might seem a bit too harsh, remember, this about winning an argument; or rather not losing the argument. Like this.
You : Like I am saying, A will fix the problem. You even admitted its advantages.
Other : That’s not what I said. I think X would definitely solve the issue.
You : You never admit defeat. Remember the other day I beat you at tennis. (But actually you lost the game that day)
Your response simply makes the other person confused, angry, and defensive. Now they have to prove to you that they had won the game the other day and this gives you more time to move the subject to something else. By the way this technique is called “Selective Memory”. You make up memories or alter them to suit your needs.
There are a whole bunch of really useful techniques for this purpose. They can be found here.
My favorite is ‘Describing the Question’. Nothing annoys people more than repeating what they just said. Sometimes, I intentionally misstate them for increased effect.
So there it is. The complete guide to winning every argument ever. Using these techniques you can easily overcome any fact or reason based conversational argument in any part of the world.
You are welcome.
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I am on a blog-a-day-for-a-year crusade. Keep me motivated with your comments. Or make San Francisco less colder for this weekend.