I get it. Sometimes, we all say things that just aren’t right. We have beliefs we can’t back up worth a bean. But just because we think something that’s totally unjustified, doesn’t mean we need to lose when we argue for our point of view with anyone else. If there’s one thing I’m learning from our current political environment, it’s that you can win just about any argument as long as you approach it the right way. Here’s my breakdown of Important Steps to Follow:
- If at all possible, try to move the focus of the argument away from the area where you’re completely wrong, and over to safer territory. If the argument is about who should do the dishes, and you haven’t done the dishes in five months, switch the battleground to something where you’re stronger. Say . . . the ultimate breakdown of household chores. It doesn’t really matter where an argument begins. All that matters is where it ends. And you winning.
- Keep track of several irrelevant weaknesses of your opponents. Whenever they draw blood in an argument, whip out those weaknesses and divert the attention away from your own. So what if you didn’t do the dishes this month. They didn’t remember your birthday three years ago. I think we can all agree that people who don’t remember birthdays are far less caring than people who do minor things like “live like a complete and utter slob.”
- Never, ever, EVER let yourself be suckered into allowing the argument to shift toward verifiable facts. Facts are not your friends when you know you’re wrong. As soon as the argument shifts into absolute truths, you’re going to be sunk. So keep it grounded in generalities if at all possible. Things that can’t really be proven one way or another. Ideally, things you can say are a certain way, without anyone coming along to question those statements.
- Ask for proof when someone makes a claim against you. Lots of proof. No matter how much proof they provide, question its reliability and ask for more. Who cares if they’ve been keeping a “Who Did the Dishes Diary” for the past several years. Was it just them keeping it? Why wasn’t it an uninvolved bystander? Should we really allow their evidence to stand when it’s so clearly biased?
- When things aren’t going your way, you can always shift from generalities into hyper-specifics. (If you do this fast enough, it’ll really stump your opponent.) What does “doing the dishes” mean, anyway? What does it consist of? You brought a dish to the sink last February. Isn’t that part of “doing the dishes”? Why haven’t we ever really nailed down this definition? Can you honestly be expected to live according to a standard that (up to now) was so loosely defined? I mean, you can commit to following anything from now on. You’re a reasonable person. But let’s not be petty about things and take cheap pot shots just because you haven’t scrubbed a pot in the last decade.
- If you happen to be painted into a corner with facts and hard evidence that destroy any shred of a hope you have of actually winning the argument, fall back on the old reliable approach : deny. Deny the proof. Deny that you said that. Deny it’s your voice on the recording. Deny it’s you on that video tape. Just keep denying things. In the end, an argument is won by the person willing to keep arguing. Anyone walking away from the argument is clearly the loser. Deny until they give up.
- Always remember that logical fallacies are your friend. Straw man arguments. False dichotomies. Slippery slopes. Use these as much as possible. Ideally, your opponent will call you out on them, and then you can switch the argument away from where you’re losing and over to safer ground: about how your opponent uses hoity toity language to try and distract from what really matters.
With these simple steps, you’re pretty much guaranteed to never lose an argument ever. Which you can brag about often to anyone who actually still cares to listen to what you have to say. #winning
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