How to Have a Good Argument

The most important part of having a good argument is to know how to stay calm and be respectful. If you have that baseline, then you can make the other person come around to seeing your side of the story -- or at least make sure that you don't end up having a fistfight. Just work on being reasonable and confident about your point of view and you'll be able to make a strong case for yourself.


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    Stay calm. The energy you give off is usually picked up on by the other person; if you are calm they sense you mean no harm and relax more. Even if you get emotional, try to keep your dignity and don't lash out unexpectedly. Also consider your tone of voice; try to keep a steady, low tone and volume, not fluctuating to much in speed and sound. Try to sound as relaxed as possible and avoid high-pitched sounds. Also consider your body language: have a good firm posture that makes your feel powerful but not aggressive.
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    Don't insult the other person. Avoid to, in any way, say something that might be taken as an insult. When people are angry they are much more sensitive and will take even the smallest comment as an insult.
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    Express that you are willing to listen to the other person and respect them. Even though you might not agree with what the other person is saying you need to remember that they might feel just as strongly about their views as you do about yours.
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    Be reasonable. The outcome of the argument might not be exactly what you wanted, but never expect to get everything you want.
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    Talk to the person in a proper manner telling them that you disagree with (subject). Depending on what it is they may or may not engage you in said discussion.
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    Be civil, the loudest person is usually wrong. Screaming or trying to be heard is not a good way to make your argument; it comes off immature.
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    Make sure you are familiar in the subject! You don't want to get in an argument about dog training with an expert when you've just managed to train your dog to sit.
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    Press your point. Pick a reasonable idea, and stick to it - don't let the person you're arguing with distract you or lead you away from the subject.
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    Once you have come to a conclusion and an understanding one side will leave with perhaps a different opinion on the subject. That or the person may simply become annoyed by you


  • Allow each person to speak and make their point.
  • Keep your voice at a normal volume.
  • Know when it's time to quietly walk away. There are some who simply cannot or will not understand. They aren't worth the time spent trying to communicate. The other party really will never get it. You risk saying something hurtful.
  • Set healthy boundaries. If the person with whom you are arguing is angry, obnoxious or verbally abusive, should you really be interacting with them? It may be better to walk away.
  • Don't swear, this lets the other person know you are going to be unreasonable and sets a far more aggressive tone than needed.
  • Don't let it last too long, the argument degrades if it's held out.
  • Trying to convince the other person to calm down with words usually doesn't work, and never works unless you are calm yourself. When people are emotional they usually don't take well to lengthy explanations or listening to your needs, so phrases like "it is really rude of you not to listen to me, please show more respect" are usually taken more like insults and power-boosts than actually being listened to.
  • If the argument is with a clerk, salesperson, etc. ask to speak with their supervisor. If a supervisor isn't immediately available, get a phone number.


  • When people get angry they might react in unpredictable ways. If you ever feel you are in more danger than it's worth, walk away.
  • When angry, people tend to think less, e.g. give in to prejudice or not consider the outcome of their actions.
  • Arguments can lead to more long-time escalating hostilities.

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Categories: Managing Arguments