Arguing is usually thought about as being an exchange between people who disagree about something and have moved, emotionally, past the point of ‘discussion’ about their differences to trying, with often heated energy, to persuade the other person of the error(s) in their reasoning and conclusions.
Some people enjoy the intellectual stimulation they derive from arguing. Others are drawn to the behavior because they, somehow, obtain pleasure from being oppositional. Still others, eschew arguing at almost any cost.
If you find yourself on the ‘I really don’t want to be doing this’ end of a verbal altercation or argument with someone, there are some time-proven methods that stand a very good chance of ending the uncomfortable interaction.
Stopping an Argument:
Remain silent and just look at the other person. If they don’t know what you are thinking and you don’t tell them, it becomes impossible to sustain an argument. It does, as they say,’take two to tangle.’
Don’t take the bait. People who like to argue are expert at ‘hooking’ others into them by throwing out some ‘Bit’ that is difficult for the other person to resist nibbling on. As any fish (if fish could speak) would tell you, nibbling is a very dangerous activity!
Make a brief comment or observation, not on the specific content of the argument, like:
“I don’t think anyone is going to get their mind changed by arguing this, so I am going to stop,” or
“Let’s just agree to disagree,”
“I have to go now. See you!”
Any of the aforementioned is best followed by turning and walking away before the other person has the chance to rebait the hook and again dangle it, temptingly, in front of your mind.
Arguments die a quick death when one of the participants removes themselves from the situation.
What Does NOT Work:
Wishing that an argument would stop …. Or “Hopin’, Thinkin’ or Prayin’…is not likely to work. If the other person is invested in continuing to argue with you, your desires to the contrary are not apt to have the desired effect
Trying to ‘win’ the argument by out-reasoning the other person. Fact is, people rarely if ever get their minds changed through arguing. An argument is, after all, a kind of verbal fisticuffs. The core dynamic structure of argument is formed around the idea and expectation that someone will ‘win’ and someone will ‘lose.’ Arguments rarely, if ever. Lead to agreed upon ‘ties.
Expecting the exchange to remain rational, reasonable and considerate. That possibility went out the door as soon as the exchange shifted from discussion (an exchange of ideas) to argument (an exchange of emotionally charged differences of opinion.).
Arguing is a form of fighting. As such, it can not be expected to be either reasonable, respectful or particularly rational. There is probably nothing wrong with a person who tries to avoid them – So long as they are not inhibited from expressing their views with those willing to engage in civilized conversation.