Tool For Tuesday: 5 Guaranteed Ways To Avoid An Argument

You don’t want to have another argument again. You just don’t. You don’t want to bicker, squabble or wrangle. You don’t want to be lassoed into another quarrel. But the other guy is dragging you into the boxing ring for another round. What to do?

Here are five sure-fire things to say to stop the dispute:

  1. You may be right. Ahh, how good does that sound to the other guy? It’s what they’re waiting to hear. Say it with feeling even if you don’t believe it.
  2. I’ll think about that. And I’m sure you will. Don’t ruminate (chew the mental cud too much) but maybe what they’re saying does have a molecule of validity.
  3. I hear you. Everyone likes to be heard. You can repeat what they said, too. What I hear you saying is that…and then say what they said. Even if it’s preposterous. Just say it.
  4. I’m doing the best I can. Nobody can argue with that. But are you? Maybe that’s not something to share with the other guy – but maybe you can share that with someone else. Are you really doing your best? Or is there something you can improve? Remember, we don’t have to share our weaknesses with everyone—only those we trust who won’t hold it against us. But we need to honestly do the work on ourselves.
  5. Oh. Oh? Oh…You can use this two-letter word like a Swiss Army knife. It comes in handy all the time. You can stall. You can pray. You can wait and wait and then say it again. Oh? Oh…

You don’t have to pick up the other end of the rope. It takes 2 to tango and 2 to play Tug-of-War. If you stay calm and use one of these sentences, the argument usually dissolves like sugar in mint tea.

Today’s Tool: Avoiding an argument is better than winning one.

As Gabrielle Bernstein says in May Cause Miracles, when we become more open and let go of our fear, we gain new perspective. So if we let go of the fear of being wrong, hounded, criticized and shamed, then we can open ourselves up to see things in a different light.

As the photo shows you, the Arguments Yard leads nowhere!

Hit Like if you used this technique and it worked! Tell me what happened! Don’t be shy–you’re among friends!

About dianabletter

Diana Bletter is the author of several books, including The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women (with photographs by Lori Grinker), shortlisted for a National Jewish Book Award. Her novel, A Remarkable Kindness, (HarperCollins) was published in 2015. She is the First Prize Winner of Moment Magazine's 2019 Fiction Contest. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, tabletmag, Glamour, The Forward, The North American Review, Times of Israel, and is a reporter for Israel21C, and many other publications. She is author of Big Up Yourself: It's About Time You Like Being You and The Mom Who Took off On Her Motorcycle, a memoir of her 10,000-mile motorcycle trip to Alaska and back to New York. She lives in a small beach village in Western Galilee, Israel, with her husband and family. She is a member of the local hevra kadisha, the burial circle, and a Muslim-Jewish-Christian-Druze women's group in the nearby town of Akko. And, she likes snowboarding and climbing trees.
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2 Responses to Tool For Tuesday: 5 Guaranteed Ways To Avoid An Argument

  1. Excellent reminder for me, Diana. When I was teaching–especially in honors English classes–some parents would freak if their high schoolers earned a B on a paper, and with a C you almost had to call 9-1-1. A very wise, experienced teacher taught me early on that it wasn’t enough to show them the paper and explain it. They needed to be HEARD; I needed to HEAR how the kid stayed up late writing it, how important this was to getting into the right college, how insecure the student felt about writing, etc.
    It didn’t make any difference with the grade of the paper, but it did help the parent to vent and then to talk. You’re so right: Everyone needs to be heard.

    • dianabletter says:

      Hi Marilyn, You were smart to realize that if we stay silent and just listen, we accomplish more. As a teacher, it’s hard not to get defensive but you did the right thing, letting the parents vent. Sometimes it’s less about the student and more about their expectations and dreams for their kids!
      Thanks for sharing.

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