I remember the days when I was a well decorated argumentator. When it came to arguing facts, I was the champion. Those days when my friends were arguing about something especially football, politics or even girls and I wasn’t around, you will hear them make statements like “wait first make Kurtis come, you will see that your wrong”. I was someone that argued not because of arguing sake, I argued because it was a way of clashing head, minds and ideas with other people and I also learnt a lot. One thing I have noticed in my many years as argument champion is that you can never win an argument. You can’t because if you lose it, you lose it; and if you win it, you lose it. Why? Well, suppose you triumph over the other person and you make him look ill informed, ignorant of the facts at hand and stupid. Then what? you feel like the boss, you feel like the most knowledgeable of the two of you, but what about the other person? You have made him feel inferior. You have hurt his pride. He will resent your triumph and a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still. I have also gotten into arguments that by the end both of us became even more firmly convinced of our personal view points than ever. If you argue and rankle and contradict, you may achieve a victory sometimes; but it will be an empty victory because you will never get your opponent’s good will. So figure it out for yourself. Which would you rather have, an academic, theatrical victory or a person’s good will? You can seldom have both.
A smart way to avoid arguments is to agree with the other person way before it turns into an argument because by so doing you render the person speechless. For example, lets assume that I want to marry a Yoruba girl but my dad wants me to marry an Igbo girl at all costs (I have Igbo blood running in my veins in case you’re wondering..lol). I visit him at his house to have the dreaded confrontation with him concerning my choice of wife. As soon as we exchange pleasantries and the topic comes up, he says “What? a Yoruba girl? They’re no good! You cannot marry a Yoruba girl when they are a million and one good Igbo girls out there. What will my friends, what will my family say, No!!..you cannot marry a Yoruba girl”. If I get offended and I argue with him and defend my Yoruba girl, he would defend his own choice and no one will bulge, we both will stick to our choice stubbornly. But if I say, that’s very true dad, Igbo girls are one of the best ladies to marry, Igbo girls are very humble and hardworking. In fact some of my Yoruba friends are married to Igbo girls and they are more than happy.
Do you realize what I have just done, I have neutralized his arsenal and rendered him speechless because I have agreed with his point of view. There is no room for an argument. If he says the Igbo girls are the best and I say sure they are, he has to stop. He can’t keep on all afternoon saying, ‘They are the best’ when I’m agreeing with him. We then get off the subject of Igbo girls and I begin to talk about the reason why I chose this special Yoruba girl over the other outstanding Igbo girls around, how she makes me feel, how supportive she has been of me, how she adds to my life, how she completes me bla bla bla.
He might not give his consent at first but with time I am sure he will come around. We have made arguments a shouting context, he who shouts loudest wins. When next you argue, be strategic and slow to speak and you will win the argument before it even starts.
Therefore, I have come to the conclusion that the only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it. Avoiding arguments doesn’t make you a coward or timid, just makes you smart.
“How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie