Disagreements in a couple, controversial issues in communicating with family and friends, disagreements at work cause a conflict situation. And it’s very good if the purpose of your disputes is to find out the truth, and not a desire to win and convince everyone of your categorical righteousness. In this case, many begin to use “dirty” tricks, becoming personal and completely forgetting about why the disagreements arose. The ability to correctly and reasonably convey your point of view is a whole science, to comprehend which sometimes it takes a whole life.
How to avoid conflict
At the beginning of each dispute, it is better to think carefully about whether it is needed and whether the very question of your wrangling with a loved one or colleague is worth it. Sometimes it will be much wiser to avoid a dispute by agreeing to some concessions and making the opponent’s decision. True, the reasons for the dispute can be completely different. In a question like: “Today is your turn to take out the trash,” it is quite permissible not to start a long trial on the topic, whose turn it really is at this moment. And it is even possible to make allowances for the mood and state of the opponent at some point, yielding on more important issues. It should be understood that disputes and conflicts can arise at the state level, when the future of the country or the welfare of its citizens will depend on their solution. In this case, you need to be ideally prepared to defend your point of view, be able to give convincing arguments, relying on statistics – to do everything to prove your case, in which you are two hundred percent convinced.
Rules for constructive discussion
When conducting a dispute, eloquence alone is not enough. To do this, you need to study some basic rules of constructive discussion.
- Don’t back away from the issue of the controversy. The essence of any controversy is that one person does not agree with the opinion of another and tries to convince the opponent that he is right. But very often the participants in the conflict are so carried away by the tug of war with wit or offensive remarks that by the end of the communication they do not remember how it all started.
- Learn to listen carefully to your opponent. Not infrequently, it is in his judgments that you can see inaccuracies and inconsistencies that will help switch the situation to your advantage. So it is worth special attention to remove the sequence of statements, the relationship between judgments, the consistency of such connections and conclusions, etc.
- Appeal more with facts. Fortunately, today you can find many sources on the Internet that will help you build a convincing defense of your point of view. At the same time, try to refer to rating publications and official websites of government agencies, educational institutions, encyclopedic sites, etc. Graphic confirmation of your opinion in the form of graphs, tables and other statistical analyzes will also become a worthy argument. Prove your competence and get others to believe the facts you rely on.
- Always be respectful of your opponent. Argue not with a person, but with his opinion on a controversial issue. Do not categorically cut off all his judgments. Try to hear his explanation and look at the problem from his side. This understanding of his thoughts and approach to the subject of the dispute will help you quickly find the right arguments and come to the desired consensus.
- Ask more questions. First, you can build a chain of them, at the end of which your opponent will have to agree on the correctness of your point of view. Secondly, you can use the Socratic rule, which provides two questions to your opponent that require an affirmative answer, and one more detailed question with the main idea of your proof. At the same time, it is better to use your arguments as the first questions – formulate the questions in such a way that the opponent himself says “Yes”, forced to agree with your point of view. Thirdly, it is important to ask not why the other side thinks so, but how it sees the implementation of this issue in practice. A similar experiment was conducted in 2013 by psychologist Fernbuck, who proved that explaining your point of view in response to these different questions leads to different results. When answering “Why do they think so” – people explained their opinion and remained confident in their correctness. Modeling the situation, as they see the solution of the issue in practice from their point of view, led to the fact that many began to think more deeply and weigh all the pros and cons, and often tended to revise their judgment.
- Position the interlocutor, showing that you understand his point of view and you even somewhat agree with it. But … And then already confidently appeal with facts and your evidence base.
Be sure that you are right if you are already getting involved in an argument. And show your confidence in every possible way – looks, articulation, gestures, voice, etc. By screaming, you show weakness and insecurity. Be restrained, polite and calm – this way you will make your opponent listen to you, see you as a worthy interlocutor.
Simple tricks to quickly end a dispute
There are also some not entirely fair tricks that can help end an argument in the right place for you:
- speed up the submission of your arguments, without giving the enemy time to deal with their reliability and consistency. So you will quickly discourage the interlocutor from continuing the conversation in this format;
- load your opponent with excessive use of professional terminology – this way you will show your competence, and he will have to urgently accept your point of view so as not to fall in the eyes of others due to ignorance of professional vocabulary;
- you can gently scold your opponent for not knowing the known facts, which will eventually force him to leave the field of your verbal battle defeated (“Haven’t you heard this news that everyone is already discussing?”);
- you can also refer to your beliefs and principles, ending the dispute with your own opinion and not wanting to participate further in the discussion of the issue (“This approach is unacceptable for me”).
At the same time, it is not recommended to get personal and insult your opponent, or use blackmail to accept your point of view. In this case, you will at least fall in the eyes of others and, as a maximum, you can translate the conflict into the format of a fight and ascertaining the righteousness with the help of fists. Respect, calmness and reasoning are the main whales of a constructive debate.
General tips for successfully resolving a controversial issue
In general, in any dispute, you need to follow simple recommendations for adequate behavior of a mature person:
- use strong arguments, backing them up with proven facts and statistics;
- show respect and tolerance to the interlocutor, clearly realizing that all people are different, and everyone has the right to their point of view;
- treat your opponent friendly and without the slightest signs of aggression – you are arguing about some issue and do not agree with a specific opinion, and do not make claims to the enemy as a person;
- admit the possibility of other points of view, do not let your principled position “be always right in everything” leave you in splendid isolation with your opinion – without friends, comrades and loved ones;
- honestly seek the acceptance of your judgment as true – appeal with reliable facts, without inventing or juggling arguments;
- have the courage to admit your mistakes – this will not be a manifestation of weakness or incompetence, this will just show your strength and maturity as a worthy interlocutor;
- try to avoid subtle topics, the solution of which may be fundamental for a person due to a number of objective factors – education, upbringing, family traditions, etc. There is no need to argue about religion and it is better to avoid discussing political issues;
- believe in what you are saying, and then it will be much easier for you to convey your message to others. Get ready for a discussion, study all points of view, get acquainted with statistical estimates, study primary sources – in this case, your opponent will not have a single chance to refute your such convincing arguments.
And finally, if the subject of the dispute is not too important for you, think twice about whether it is worth starting a controversy and risking the relationship for the sake of it. And when entering into a dispute, first of all, remain a person – wise, tolerant, kind, attentive. Do not lose your calmness and do not overstep the boundaries of adequate communication. Always remember that the most important thing in a dispute is to find the right answer, not prove yourself right.