Well, there are a number of reasons why you should care about the futility/unproductiveness of arguing. Here are some of them, to name a few:
ARGUING IS UNNECESSARY –
One of the biggest problems with arguing is that most of the time, we don’t even need to do it. One reason is that the topics we choose to argue about aren’t always very important.
Your husband believes that area 51 is secretly housing aliens, and that those aliens are in power with the government. You’d love nothing more than to start talking some sense into him. But really… does your day depend on getting to the bottom of this? Or, would it actually be better if this wasn’t even the focus of either of your attention? The truth is that many of our arguments are like this – completely avoidable and unnecessary.
Another reason our arguing is unnecessary is because many of our thoughts, desires, requests, and feelings do not require that we make a case for them. Yet, we often don’t realize this, and attempt to justify what we think and feel by sharing our logic and reason unnecessarily. We think this makes our position stronger, but it doesn’t. It actually makes it weaker.
Most of the loving people in our lives would rather work with us because they chose to, not because they were talked into it. When we try to talk them into it, we only cause them to focus, not on our needs and wishes, but on our logic instead, which is usually far less persuasive, and far more likely to arouse disagreement.
ARGUING HIGHLIGHTS DIFFERENCES –
We live in a world with diverse people who have differing viewpoints about nearly every topic under the sun. And, most of us know that to live in harmony with all of these people, it involves putting those differences aside. But, when we argue, we tend to bring all of those religious, political and ideological differences into focus, strengthening their power to divide.
Many of us have seen our share of Thanksgiving dinners being ruined by political arguments that have come off the rails. We’ve seen how good intending people can forget their good-intent for one another, simply because they’ve become too focused on all that they don’t have in common, rather than what they do.
ARGUING CREATES COMPETITION –
If you took the arguers test earlier, you may have noticed that it actually paints arguers in a good light – as people who care about justice, have a strong desire to be
heard, and believe in doing what’s right. And yet, despite these wonderful motives, they still end up engaging in fruitless arguments that only do harm. Why is this?
It may be because the nature of arguing inspires competition. It places two people in a scenario where there are only two outcomes; winning or losing. Once in this position, we are no longer motivated by the causes that initially drove us. We become motivated by the prospect of winning (or more accurately, the threat of losing).
ARGUING DISTRACTS US FROM OUR OBJECTIVES –
The competitive nature of arguing also seems to keep us from being able to admit when we’re wrong, or when another person is right. It keeps us stubbornly refusing to yield, even when we are making obvious mistakes. We end up saying things, not because they’re true, helpful, necessary, or relevant, but because they convey whatever we’re feeling in the moment.
Our pride seems to be fueling our engines, making us willing to walk away losers in silly battles, rather than winners in the quests that really matter. It all only proves one thing – that we’ve lost sight of the truer, more-important matters at hand.
ARGUING IS UNINFLUENTIAL –
One of the most disadvantageous things about arguing is that, even when an argument is won, it fails to achieve its primary goal – persuasion. Rarely do we see the loser of an argument suddenly becoming more open to the winner’s ideas. In fact, a lot of times, we see the exact opposite. The loser silently resents his loss, and becomes more determined than ever to reclaim his lost pride. As the old quote by Henry Ford says, “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still”.
ARGUING DOES NOT DEPEND ON FACT –
They say that the most convincing lies contain just enough truth to be believable. So do the most convincing arguments. They are based on fallacies. They employ methods of distraction, biased sampling, or appealing to a naive person’s emotions. This is why it’s usually not the most factual people who win an argument, but the most competitive, passionate and intimidating.
Many of us aren’t even aware that we’re commonly using bad logic in our arguments, because the fallacies in them are so hard to spot. For a list of the common fallacies we use, refer to the later chapter, titled “Common fallacies.”
So, with all of these disadvantages in mind, we must ask ourselves one very important question – why do we argue? Why don’t we see how useless it is, and forever cross it off our list of things we will allow ourselves to do?
Somewhere in our hearts, we are deeply convinced that there is something our arguing will accomplish. Otherwise, we would not do it. And, before we go any further, maybe we should spend some time addressing those misconceptions.
Thank you for reading. This was the 2nd chapter of my book, How To Stop Arguing. If you are interested in reading more, the book is available online HERE. Or, by clicking on the image below.