We all argue. We can’t help ourselves. Disagreements between humans are common. The question for those of us trying to be enlightened is this: How can we disagree civilly while still making our case? How can we convince others we are right while still respecting our opponent despite the fact they are clearly idiots?
The fact that this is how most of us approach arguments and how we think of our goals while arguing highlights how unenlightened the very idea of winning an argument really is. Regardless, if you really want to win an argument or at least not lose an argument here are three things to avoid.
1) Arguing. If you argue, you will lose. As soon as you engage in the other person’s central premise, which is that they are right and you are wrong, you have lost. Don’t argue, don’t lose. Seriously – this does work.
2) ‘Splaining. I don’t care what sort of ‘splaining this is. Whether it is whitesplaining or mansplaining or whatever sort of ‘splaining, if you ‘splain, you lose. Here’s why. The other person isn’t going to listen to you and the fact you are ‘splaining to them will just convince them that indeed, they are right and you are an idiot. Don’t want to be considered an idiot, don’t ‘splain.
Now I know what you are thinking: but if you don’t ‘splain, how will they ever know you are right and they are wrong. Yes, I understand that SEEMS like a problem but again, the quickest way to lose an argument is to convince the other person you are an idiot. Want to win? Don’t convince them you are an idiot by ‘splaining things to them. Seriously. Don’t.
3) Standing Your Ground. Being wrong isn’t wrong. Continuing to be wrong after learning you are wrong is what makes people seem like idiots. And again, most arguments are about proving you are right and the other person is an idiot. If you stand your ground after the other person has ‘Splained to you why you are wrong, they will think you are an idiot and they will consider that a win. Even if they are the idiots and you are right, they will still think you are the idiot and that they won. The only way to avoid this trap is to concede and let them think they won.
Now, I know what you are thinking: but if you concede, they win. How is conceding, which is an act of losing help you not lose? Ahhhh, now we are coming to a place of enlightenment.
It turns out that when you concede a point, even if the point is idiotic and you concede it conditionally, you take your opponents argument off the table. The argument is over. Better yet, you now can have a conversation and discussion about the merits and demerits of different approaches and you might actually *gasp* get the other person to agree with you. Why? Because having conceded, you have convinced the person that maybe you aren’t an idiot. You are smart enough to recognize their brilliance. Now you are worthy of having a discussion with. A discussion – you can win. An argument, you cannot.
To learn more about how to win arguments without arguing, take this online course: https://humanistlearning.com/socratic-jujitsu/