“Arguments should be productive, you know what I mean?”

“People are so passionate that they’re blind to the other side of things,” he says as he tries to make his point. Almost immediately, he adds, “okay, that sounds like I’m saying people shouldn’t be passionate… that’s not what I mean.”

Perhaps what my friend was trying to convey is the reason why the voices that we hear the loudest tend to be the most angry and most one-sided. People are blinded by passion, especially in an argumentative state of mind.

When one thinks of the word “argument,” it’s typical to think of rage, and shouting, and heated disputes. However, the most effective arguments aren’t so.

People aren’t convinced by yelling, or by drilling your point of view through their seemingly thick skulls. Trust me—I’m experienced in the art of losing arguments this way.

Just ask my mother.

To display my point, I ask you to imagine yourself in the midst of an argument. In one scenario, imagine you’re in a screaming match with someone who has an opposing view. In a second, imagine that the person conflicting with you is remaining composed and is open to hearing your opinions and explaining (CALMLY) why they disagree?

Which person is more likely to sway you?

If you answer the first one, I ask you to do some soul searching (and maybe see a therapist, fam—no shame). However, if the second person is more likely to convince you of their argument, why would you ever choose to argue in the first way? Who are you going to convince if you argue this way?

And if you argue that the goal of the argument is not to convince someone of something, then why are you even arguing in the first place?

An effective argument isn’t blind. An effective argument is open to other opinions, and answers skeptical questions—THIS IS WHAT MAKES IT STRONGER!!! If you completely ignore that any other field of thought exists, or if you refuse to try to understand the contrasting side, you’re not only limiting your ability to bring other people to your side in an effective matter, but you’re also making yourself seem so incredibly ignorant.

Do not let your argumentative passion blind you in a detrimental way. If we, as a people, chose to listen to others rather than only speak to hear ourselves, we’d be far better off, and the world would have so much more peace.

I’ve spent a long time trying to understand the art of written argumentation, and that time was so important because I was so bad at it (and really, I still have a long way to go), but the facets of an effective written argument apply to ALL arguments. When it’s done respectfully, people are so much more likely to listen to you, and if you’re choosing to argue at all, that’s the obvious goal.

Add comedy, and fun, and whatever the heck else you want, my friends. (That would probably make your argument even stronger!) Just don’t be so blind that you inhibit yourself, and don’t be so angry that you keep others from wanting to understand you.

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