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Handling People Who Always Argue

 
 
Gideon Stargrave
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      10-21-2004
saw this somewhere else, and thought it might come in handy here.
gideon

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Handling People Who Always Argue
Date: Wed, 20 Oct 2004 22:28:44 -0700
From: Immortalist <(E-Mail Removed)>
Newsgroups:
alt.philosophy,talk.politics.misc,alt.politics,alt .society.conservatism,alt.society.liberalism,alt.s ociety.anarchy,alt.anarchism

How to Handle People Who Are Always Arguing

....and how to cure yourself if you're one of the culprits!

Do you enjoy playing the devil's advocate? Are you constantly offering your
opposing opinion when it is not asked for? Do you find yourself saying
the word
"but" often in your conversation with others?

You may be an argumentative talker. There is an effective way to take an
opposing
view, but it may destroy rapport. There is a way to give your opinion,
but it may
be received as unwanted advice. When you continue to oppose the comments
of your
listener, you run the risk of making them feel wrong, stupid, or uninformed.

Men and women seem to view communication differences in different ways.
I often
notice that men will say, "we had a debate" or "an intense conversation" and
women will indicate that they had "a fight" or an "argument."

The argumentative communicator, whether a man or a woman should be aware
that
their communication efforts may immediately be perceived as a "fight"
(the worst
of the four above labels) regardless of the intent of the communicator.

I have a confession to make. I was a debater in high school and like
Jack Welch
(former CEO of GE) I find a good debate stimulating and enlightening.

Debate generally can be described as a structured discussion where
individuals
cite evidence about an issue in an attempt to persuade another person.
Debate is
an intellectual process where it is OK and preferable to be "right."
While I do
enjoy debating very much, I do not enjoy arguing, which is emotionally
based.

Arguing is where two or more people disagree about some subject, they
raise their
voices and make the discussion personal by bringing in the other person's
intentions.

What's the difference between debate and an argument?

In debate we cite evidence with the intent to validate our point of view. In
arguments we cite evidence, make claims about the negative intention of
the other
person's behavior, and become very emotional to the point where
apologies will be
in order after the communication is finished because one or both parties
will
have their feelings hurt. In an argument the individual feels attacked.
When the
attack is perceived as hostile, with intention to harm, I call this a
"fight."

Perceptions are tricky things. One person may be simply debating or
discussing a
subject intellectually with no intent to harm. The other person may
perceive such
communication as intending to harm them and they feel as if they are in
a fight
with a need to defend themselves instead of their point of view!
Sometimes it
takes quite a long time for the person who is debating to come to the
conclusion
that the other person is upset and fighting.

There are no easy and clearly defined answers to rapidly determine whether
someone thinks you are arguing, fighting, debating or discussing.
Therefore it is
vital to ask if it's "OK to have this conversation" or at least smile.
It's also
important to keep sarcasm out of discussions and debates if it isn't
obvious to
the other person that you are having fun with them...instead of poking
fun at
them.

Argumentative communicators need to be right. They want to defeat their
opponent
as if the dining room or boardroom is a courtroom where only one person can
"win."

In interpersonal communications or in business, it's critical to
remember that
it's very easy for no one to win. This doesn't mean to stop disagreeing or
intellectually pursuing what is good and right. But it is very important
to make
sure those we have discussions with do not feel attacked.

It's important to separate the idea from the person

There is an additional problem. You and I both know that we often take
possession
of our ideas as if they were our identity. If people's ideas and verbalized
thoughts are always experienced at the level of one's identity, then all
debate
will become perceived as fighting or arguing. Therefore, when this
pattern of
communication erupts it's important to separate the idea from the
person. This
doesn't stop discussion and debates from becoming arguments and fights
but it
does add clarity to the conversation.

If you are discussing something with someone and they perceive you as
argumentative, I suggest you ask the person, "How can I present counter
examples
and other points of view to you so that you are not offended and your
feelings
are not hurt?" I thought of this wonderful question many times when it
was simply
too late to ask.

If you experience numerous people saying things like, "You just love to
argue
don't you?" or "Why do you always argue with me?" or "I don't want to
fight with
you," then regardless of whether you are fighting with people or not you
need to
reconsider your approach to communication so you are perceived as less
abrasive.

Many times people who are intellectuals (whether they are "intellectual
snobs" or
not!) are considered argumentative simply because they have such a broad
or deep
knowledge about something that they are constantly the individual with
superior
knowledge about a subject. This can lead others to feeling inferior.

In these situations it can be useful for the person perceived as
superior and
therefore the one who often puts others "on edge" or "on the defensive"
to reduce
the number of verbalizations in a communication and "tighten up their
communication." Make long speeches shorter. Ask more questions and have
fewer
total words spoken in dialogue.

Remember: Where one person knows seems to know everything, the other
person is
not necessary...or at least that's how they feel.

Most brilliant people got that way because they were incredibly
inquisitive. This
too can become a problem. Asking questions of others is a great way to learn
about how others feel, think and believe but believe it or not...there
are lines
that can be crossed here as well!

Many people process their "thoughts" through their "feelings." You can ask
someone what they are thinking and they will say, "I don't know,"
"nothing", "not
much," "nothing important," and so on.

These people aren't planning major life events in their mind, they are
simply in
the moment...in their feelings and because they process information
differently
from verbalizing thinkers, they often feel inadequate in a relationship
or are
pegged as poor communicators. In fact, they may not be good
communicators but
they can improve their communication skills if others don't put an enormous
amount of pressure on them.

If you are a person who takes time to process external information and
you don't
communicate well about information you have just received, a good
strategy to
appear more competent is to say things like, "I need to consider what you've
said...to ponder it." "Let me think about what you've said. I'd like to
talk with
you tomorrow about it, when I've taken the time it deserves." "My initial
reaction is positive and I'd like to take some more time to consider it."

What this does is allow the two parties to know that there is no problem
with
what was communicated by the verbalizing party and that they are indeed
considering the information, not ignoring it as verbalizers often feel
others are
doing "to them."

"Non-verbalizers" (people who use few words in the course of a day or a
conversation) often become angry when they are asked to express more
than they
already have said. This leads them to argue from their feeling base.
"Why do you
always make me feel bad?" "You're mean." "You don't respect my
feelings." They
might raise their voice and repeat the same sets of feelings or thoughts
over and
over and they are now arguing.

Instead, the "nonverbalizer" can share information like this. "I'm
starting to
get upset but it's because I'm not able to put my feelings into words
yet. I'm
not upset with you and I don't want to be, so let me ponder this and
let's talk
again tomorrow about it."

Meanwhile, a "verbalizer" (a person who share lots of information...almost
streams of information in communication) gets upset and angry when
others don't
respond in like kind. Someone who communicates 50 out of 60 minutes will
feel the
other person is "holding back" or "covering up" or that they just don't
care.

These things upset the "verbalizer" and once upset, as with all
communication
about to go wrong...emotions will get the best of the verbalizer and
communication will deteriorate rapidly. Because the verbalizer is able
to deliver
words in large volume and speed, the verbalizer also is more likely to
be deemed
argumentative when she gets upset. Her voice will raise and become angry.

The verbalizer needs to share their feelings now. "I'm starting to
become angry
because I feel as if you are not sharing with me what I'm asking you
for. Am I
reading you right?" It's very important that the nonverbalizer doesn't
take this
communication as "blaming" because the nonverbalizer is by definition
someone who
doesn't communicate as much and certainly not as quickly as a verbalizer.

What can you do if you are dealing with
an argumentative communicator ?

1. Tell the person you don't enjoy arguing but that you will discuss
options and
ideas.

2. Tell the person you respect their point of view but disagree.

3. If necessary, tell the person that this subject is something you
don't wish to
continue discussing because it is personal or volatile. (This is OK for
business
of course but not going to do the trick in long term relationships.)

4. Speak your point of view clearly and what it would take for you to
re-evaluate
your point of view.

5. Ask the person, Is being right more important than your feelings?"
(In other
words, what is at stake? Safety? Life/Death? Some long term issue? Or is
it about
whether you squeeze the toothpaste from the middle or end....)

6. Suggest the person frame their comments in a more gentle fashion. "I
know you
aren't saying that to attack me, it just hurts when you say it that way."

7. "Instead of yelling, allow yourself to speak calmly and then I'll be
able to
listen to you better."

8. "If you stop calling me names when we talk, I'd be a lot less defensive.
Deal?"

What can you do if you are an argumentative communicator yourself?

1. Ask more questions.

2. Be interested in how the other people in your life came to believe
and think
what they think.

3. Be aware that not everyone perceives discussion, debate, arguing and
fighting
in the same way. Find out what those important to you believe about each
of these
things.

4. Ask the important people in your life specifically how you can
communicate
with them to help them know you don't want to argue but discuss.

5. Determine why you need to be "right" or make someone else "wrong" in
heated
communications.

6. Always think of your intention. If your intention is gentle. Speak more
quietly. People associate quieter tones and gentler intentions.

7. Show people you care in ways other than verbally so they know you
care when
you do argue.

8. If you find yourself getting into a heated discussion, ask the other
person if
they feel you are arguing or discussing. Ask what the difference would
be for
them.

9. Ask your friend/association/partner how you can communicate without
giving the
appearance of arguing.

10. Be certain that you make clear your intention so it is not
misunderstood!

Copyright, 2002. Kevin Hogan: Writer and speaker Kevin Hogan is an expert on
subjects as varied as sales training, body language, communication and
hypnosis.

Visit his site at http://www.kevinhogan.com and sign up for his free
newsletter.

http://www.hodu.com/conversation-communication.3.shtml

 
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Fred
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Posts: n/a
 
      10-23-2004
Gideon Stargrave howled:

> gideon How to Handle People Who Are Always Arguing Do you enjoy playing
> the devil's advocate?


Really, always?

> Are you constantly offering your opposing opinion when it is not asked
> for?


When do you think?

> Do you find yourself saying the word "but" often in your conversation
> with others?


What's wrong with a little good conversation?

> There is an effective way to take an opposing view, but it may destroy
> rapport.


Lets go and destroy something.

> There is a way to give your opinion, but it may be received as unwanted
> advice.


Advice on what?

> When you continue to oppose the comments of your listener, you run the
> risk of making them feel wrong, stupid, or uninformed.


Argumentum ad ignorantiam. Do you also create conspiracy theories?

> Men and women seem to view communication differences in different ways.


Argumentum ad Captandum Vulgus. An appeal to the low instincts of the
general rabble.

> I often notice that men will say, "we had a debate" or "an intense
> conversation" and women will indicate that they had "a fight" or an
> "argument.


When do you think will be the next time you'll notice that men will say?

> " The argumentative communicator, whether a man or a woman should be
> aware that their communication efforts may immediately be perceived as
> a "fight" (the worst of the four above labels) regardless of the intent
> of the communicator.


Do you like many men?

> I have a confession to make.


That's cool! Wish i had a confession to make.

> I was a debater in high school and like Jack Welch (former CEO of GE) I
> find a good debate stimulating and enlightening.


Who needs to go to school?

> Debate generally can be described as a structured discussion where
> individuals cite evidence about an issue in an attempt to persuade
> another person.


Wow, how very precise.

> Debate is an intellectual process where it is OK and preferable to be
> "right.


Get ****ed.

> " While I do enjoy debating very much, I do not enjoy arguing, which is
> emotionally based.


You should.

> Arguing is where two or more people disagree about some subject, they
> raise their voices and make the discussion personal by bringing in the
> other person's intentions.


You don't know for certain?

> What's the difference between debate and an argument?


Who are you arguing with?

> In debate we cite evidence with the intent to validate our point of
> view.


What do you intend to do?

> In arguments we cite evidence, make claims about the negative intention
> of the other person's behavior, and become very emotional to the point
> where apologies will be in order after the communication is finished
> because one or both parties will have their feelings hurt.


Party time!

> In an argument the individual feels attacked.


What do you argue about?

> When the attack is perceived as hostile, with intention to harm, I call
> this a "fight.


You don't like it when people are hostile, do you?

> One person may be simply debating or discussing a subject
> intellectually with no intent to harm.


What is there to talk about anyway?

> The other person may perceive such communication as intending to harm
> them and they feel as if they are in a fight with a need to defend
> themselves instead of their point of view!


Why were you fighting?

> Sometimes it takes quite a long time for the person who is debating to
> come to the conclusion that the other person is upset and fighting.


Did you get your arse kicked in a fight?

> There are no easy and clearly defined answers to rapidly determine
> whether someone thinks you are arguing, fighting, debating or
> discussing.


Good conversation is always a joy.

> Therefore it is vital to ask if it's "OK to have this conversation" or
> at least smile.


Are your partner's sexual needs more important than your own?

> It's also important to keep sarcasm out of discussions and debates if
> it isn't obvious to fun at them.


Do you play sports for fun?

> They want to defeat their opponent as if the dining room or boardroom
> is a courtroom where only one person can "win.


What is desirable?

> " In interpersonal communications or in business, it's critical to
> remember that it's very easy for no one to win.


I want to start a business.

> This doesn't mean to stop disagreeing or intellectually pursuing what
> is good and right.


Why is good and right?

> But it is very important to make sure those we have discussions with do
> not feel attacked.


What's so important about that?

> It's important to separate the idea from the person There is an
> additional problem.


Important? I doubt it.

> You and I both know that we often take possession of our ideas as if
> they were our identity.


When was the last time?

> If people's ideas and verbalized thoughts are always experienced at the
> level of one's identity, then all debate will become perceived as
> fighting or arguing.


Did you get into a fight?

> Therefore, when this pattern of communication erupts it's important to
> separate the idea from the person.


That doesn't sound important.

> This doesn't stop discussion and debates from becoming arguments and
> fights but it does add clarity to the conversation.


What is there to talk about anyway?

> If you are discussing something with someone and they perceive you as
> argumentative, I suggest you ask the person, "How can I present counter
> examples and other points of view to you so that you are not offended
> and your feelings are not hurt?


Chatting is fun.

> " I thought of this wonderful question many times when it was simply
> too late to ask.


Well, maybe you were mistaken.

> If you experience numerous people saying things like, "You just love to
> argue don't you?


You're just playing devil's advocate, aren't you?

> " or "Why do you always argue with me?


Who are you arguing with?

> " or "I don't want to fight with you," then regardless of whether you
> are fighting with people or not you need to reconsider your approach to
> communication so you are perceived as less abrasive.


What is desirable?

> Many times people who are intellectuals (whether they are "intellectual
> snobs" or not!


Well, everyone, probably.

> ) are considered argumentative simply because they have such a broad or
> deep knowledge about something that they are constantly the individual
> with superior knowledge about a subject.


I think you are hiding the real reason.

> In these situations it can be useful for the person perceived as
> superior and therefore the one who often puts others "on edge" or "on
> the defensive" to reduce the number of verbalizations in a
> communication and "tighten up their communication.


Could you be more precise?

> Ask more questions and have fewer total words spoken in dialogue.


Have you ever used your company computer to download porn?

> person is Most brilliant people got that way because they were
> incredibly inquisitive.


What other reasons might there be?

> This too can become a problem.


We all have problems.

> Asking questions of others is a great way to learn about how others
> feel, think and believe but believe it or are lines that can be crossed
> here as well!


Could you be more imprecise?

> " You can ask someone what they are thinking and they will say, "I
> don't know," "nothing", "not much," "nothing important," and so on.


Do you feel important?

> These people aren't planning major life events in their mind, they are
> simply in differently from verbalizing thinkers, they often feel
> inadequate in a relationship or are pegged as poor communicators.


Life sucks then you die.

> In fact, they may not be good communicators but they can improve their
> communication skills if others don't put an enormous amount of pressure
> on them.


Wild, huh?

> If you are a person who takes time to process external information and
> you don't communicate well about information you have just received, a
> good strategy to appear more competent is to say things like, "I need
> to consider what I'd like to talk with you tomorrow about it, when I've
> taken the time it deserves.


What is there to talk about anyway?

> " "My initial reaction is positive and I'd like to take some more time
> to consider it.


Have you stopped sending sordid stories by mass email to everyone in your
work address book?

> " What this does is allow the two parties to know that there is no
> problem with what was communicated by the verbalizing party and that
> they are indeed considering the information, not ignoring it as
> verbalizers often feel others are doing "to them.


Fight for your right to party.

> " "Non-verbalizers" (people who use few words in the course of a day or
> a conversation) often become angry when they are asked to express more
> than they already have said.


Not too often, I hope.

> This leads them to argue from their feeling base.


Who are you arguing with?

> "Why do you always make me feel bad?


When?

> " "You don't respect my feelings.


Respect is handed out lightly.

> " They might raise their voice and repeat the same sets of feelings or
> thoughts over and over and they are now arguing.


You should pay more attention.

> "I'm starting to get upset but it's because I'm not able to put my
> feelings into words yet.


Who says you are able to put your feelings into words yet?

> I'm not upset with you and I don't want to be, so let me ponder this
> and let's talk again tomorrow about it.


Why don't you want to be? Everyone else does.

> " Meanwhile, a "verbalizer" (a person who share lots of upset and angry
> when others don't respond in like kind.


When exactly?

> Someone who communicates 50 out of 60 minutes will feel the other
> person is "holding back" or "covering up" or that they just don't care.


Your mother.

> These things upset the "verbalizer" and once upset, as with all
> communication communication will deteriorate rapidly.


Don't be so uptight. Do you need to talk about your problem?

> Because the verbalizer is able to deliver words in large volume and
> speed, the verbalizer also is more likely to be deemed argumentative
> when she gets upset.


I don't know when, and why the **** are you saying that?

> Her voice will raise and become angry.


Better to be ****ed off, then ****ed on.

> The verbalizer needs to share their feelings now.


How do you feel about me?

> "I'm starting to become angry because I feel as if you are not sharing
> with me what I'm asking you for.


Do you always feel as if I am not sharing with you what you're asking me for
when you're around me?

> Am I reading you right?


Are you able to examine your own imperfections and restrain your caprice?

> " It's very important that the nonverbalizer doesn't take this
> communication as "blaming" because the nonverbalizer is by definition
> someone who doesn't communicate as much and certainly not as quickly as
> a verbalizer.


That doesn't sound important.

> What can you do if you are dealing with an argumentative communicator?


You could ask yourself, "What should I do if I am dealing with an
argumentative communicator?"

> Tell the person you don't enjoy arguing but that you will discuss
> options and ideas.


Do you wish you could talk to barn animals?

> Tell the person you respect their point of view but disagree.


Respect is handed out lightly.

> If necessary, tell the person that this subject is something you don't
> wish to continue discussing because it is personal or volatile.


I like to talk to people.

> (This is OK for business of course but not going to do the trick in
> long term relationships.


Get ****ed.

> Speak your point of view clearly and what it would take for you to
> re-evaluate your point of view.


Do I look like I give a ****?

> Ask the person, Is being right more important than your feelings?


What could be so important?

> " (In other words, what is at stake?


What what?

> Safety?


Are you a dynamo in bed?

> Or is it about 6.


Wow, how very precise.

> "I know you aren't saying that to attack me, it just hurts when you say
> it that way.


I'd ask if you had any particular time or occasion in mind, but it seems you
don't have a mind.

> "Instead of yelling, allow yourself to speak calmly and then I'll be
> able to listen to you better.


You mean you con someone to be able to listen to me better?

> "If you stop calling me names when we talk, I'd be a lot less
> defensive.


What is there to talk about anyway?

> " What can you do if you are an argumentative communicator yourself?


You could just fart and walk off chuckling.

> Ask more questions.


Have you resolved your confusion over the role of pets and food in relation
to your sex life yet?

> Be interested in how the other people in your life came to believe and
> think what they think.


Have you ever contemplated suicide?

> Be aware that not everyone perceives discussion, debate, arguing and
> fighting in the same way.


Not everyone!

> Find out what those important to you believe about each of these
> things.


Do you feel important?

> Ask the important people in your life specifically how you can
> communicate with them to help them know you don't want to argue but
> discuss.


What is desirable?

> Determine why you need to be "right" or make someone else "wrong" in
> heated communications.


How am I supposed to ****ing know?

> Always think of your intention.


When?

> If your intention is gentle.


You and your spouse are shopping for mattresses. Do you immediately think
about how good the sex will be, rather than the sleep?

> Show people you care in ways other than verbally so they know you care
> when you do argue.


Do you have any specific examples of when?.

> If you find yourself getting into a heated discussion, ask the other
> person if they feel you are arguing or discussing.


Why talk when you could be drinking?

> Ask what the difference would be for them.


What what?

> Be certain that you make clear your intention so it is not
> misunderstood!


Why are you so certain?

> expert on subjects as varied as sales training, body language,
> communication and hypnosis.


Are you intimidated by experts?



 
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