Monday, November 21, 2011

The Art of Arguing

I’ve noticed that many of us tend to avoid conflict with those close to us because they fear arguing as the ultimate evil. This never made sense to me. I prefer to not argue with people I do not care about (what’s the purpose in that?). I do care what my loved ones think so arguing often becomes necessary. Not only is arguing necessary in many occasions it is quite enjoyable if done the right way. In order to make an argument productive and enjoyable I strongly suggest the following guidelines:

The Rules of Argumentation
1) No name calling. Stick to the argument. This includes sarcasm, mocking and any form of personally insulting behaviors.

2) Ideas may be criticized and/or insulted to the full extent possible, but be sure to explain why they deserve criticism.

3) Arguments must conform to LOGIC only and not belief nor emotion.

4) Emotions may be declared as a matter of statement if they start the sentence with the phrase: “I feel”. You may not infer nor imply that anyone else feels the way you do without statistical documented proof. You may not imply or state outright that anyone “made you feel” any way.

5) Arguments must continue until there is a clear winner (Breaks are acceptable but make a clear date/time to resume the way a court case would).
5a) People may call upon a mutually agreed unbiased 3rd party to declare winners to arguments.

6) Make a point to listen and learn from your opponent. Assume at the onset that the disagreement is purely a misunderstanding so seek to understand your opponent.
6a) Do not get offended by your opponent not understanding you. Take it as an opportunity to clear things up and realize that someone seeking to understand you is a compliment of respect and affection.

7) Do not be afraid to be wrong. Being wrong just means you have learned something new. There is no shame in it.
7a) Do not celebrate your victory if you won the argument. If anything you should be apologetic to your opponent and be grateful they finally understand your point of view.

8) Talk in segments no longer than 3minutes (5 in a rare occasion) then take a clear pause to allow your opponent to respond before continuing. Responses must also be under 3 minutes long.

9) Do not talk over or interrupt your opponent (provided they are following rule 8).

10) Do not substitute semantics, wordplay, or cliché for legitimate argument. You may use these methods to introduce a point, but then you must still explain why they apply.

11) Have fun. It’s easy to get upset about ideas you are passionate about, but remember that you have found someone in your opponent that is also passionate about the subject. Enjoy it the way you would enjoy any competitive sport.

12) Seek clarification. If the way an argument is made sounds confusing try asking a “are you saying that…?” question. Often times we will all make arguments but leave out important details because we forget what we know isn’t common knowledge.