I Disagree, Respectfully

Some quick rules for arguing about pretty much anything.

Written by Vinny Guarino
                                         Hah, sarcasm

                                        Hah, sarcasm

Ok so you’re scrolling down your newsfeed and someone says something that really catches your eye. It’s not something you like. Maybe it has to do with a politician. Maybe someone worked up the nerve to say that Dexter is better than Breaking Bad. (It isn’t.)

Whatever it is, you feel the need to respond. No worries. This is the beauty of social media.

We can all say what we want to anyone. You don’t have to go through any channels, it just happens instantly.

Check out this fella reaching out to Wendy’s via Twitter - letting them know that he prefers them over some of their burger chain rivals.

I bet you’ll think twice about that 4 for 4 deal now.

Anyway, the point is that people get carried away online. You don’t have to be one of those people.

If you do choose to respond in disagreement to something someone posts — it would be in the best interest of all parties involved to stick to the topic at hand.

If you’re going to argue that Dexter is better than Breaking Bad, talk about the plot, the character development, the production or something substantive like that.

If you’re going to debate someone about politics, don’t attack the other person. Don’t belittle them either. You might THINK that the person is stupid or a sheep or something like that. But it really is not in your interest to point this out during the argument.

Reader: But Vinny, I need to call this person an idiot. He must find this out right now, from me, his noble opposition.

To this I say, no you don’t need to call anyone an idiot.

Calling someone a rude name or attacking a person’s character are surefire ways to create even more distance between you and the person you are arguing with.

Personally, I like to find some common ground during an argument, maybe even pay the person a compliment. This will usually make him or her more receptive to what you have to say, and even if this person still disagrees with you, he or she will at least honor your humanity (in most cases).

All you can do in a debate is put the facts out there and listen. Your goal should be either to educate or to learn.

If the other person refuses to acknowledge your facts, then you have failed to educate. If you have not learned anything new about the topic from the other person, then so have they.

Usually it takes a few rounds of back and forth to realize you have reached this point.

It’s critical to become aware that you have reached an impasse. Proceeding to argue at this point is a waste of your time.

You are simply entertaining yourself - possibly distracting yourself from something you should really be focusing on like exercising, studying, meditating, writing your novel, or whatever the hell is on your list of resolutions for 2017.

So next time you see something that really bothers you on Facebook or Twitter, take a second to breathe first. Maybe this is not worth your time and patience. We only have so much in a day.

If you still decide to roll with it, stick to the topic, and don’t argue all day.

If you decide you have more important things to focus on, celebrate with this baby.


P.S. For another really interesting article about the best and worst ways to disagree with people, be sure to check out Paul Graham’s “How to Disagree” right here: http://paulgraham.com/disagree.html