How to win any argument?

Whether you know less than your opponent or lack their silver tongue, it makes no difference – you will always win the argument. 

Here’s how.

Imagine you find yourself in an argument.

“I don’t support abortion clinics.” Says the woman across the table. In your mind, you disagree. What do you do?

You become the questioner.

Resting the urge to jump into a tirade of attack. Instead, restrain yourself and ask…

“What makes you say that?”

“Well, I can’t support taking an innocent life.” She replies.

“Ok, I see. Some people don’t consider the foetus old enough to constitute a life. What would you say to this?” You enquire.

“To me, it’s still a life, and don’t get me started on all those people having kids who aren’t ready for it.” She added.

“You’re right. Many people having kids are not ready for the responsibility. What do you think about people who aren’t pregnant by their own choice?” You ask politely.

Her tone softens a little.

“That is hard. I’m really not sure. I still believe that life shouldn’t be taken.” She says.

“Sure, you’re right. It’s hard. Carrying the child of the person who assaulted you is probably more than I could bear. Even raising a child in an environment that isn’t ready to receive them is a challenge. What do you think?” You say.

After pausing, she says, “Yes, I don’t know. I’d like to think I wouldn’t get rid of the child.” 

“A hard consideration for sure.” You reiterate to her with an empathetic nod.

Let me tell you what will happen after the conversation. That lady will go home and think. She probably won’t change her mind, but that doesn’t matter because you’ve made her think. She began to soften even as the argument went on. 

When you attack someone, their natural reaction is to defend themselves.

What happens when she’s busy defending?

She isn’t listening.

It doesn’t matter how articulate your points are because they fall on deaf ears. The harder you push against someone, the firmer they become in their beliefs.

Minds can only be changed in a safe environment. Force never works. And even if you do change someone’s mind by force, they will hate you for it.

So how can you win every argument?

Be the questioner.

Take some advice from Socrates and replace statements with questions. When you do this, you become a neutral party. You’re no longer the enemy but someone merely asking questions to understand for yourself. 

When you ask the right questions, you will find that the person arguing becomes their own foe. And when the environment is safe, people can change their minds – as long as it’s by their own hand. 

Men should be taught as if you taught them not, and things unknown proposed as things forgot.

Benjamin Franklin
Published in Philosophy, Psychology, Relationships, Self Improvement, Stories
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