Three Ways To Not Be Manipulated During an Argument

Photo by Kawtar CHERKAOUI on Unsplash

People will try to manipulate you during arguments, and you need to be aware of it. Here are some ways that they will try to do it. Watch out for this stuff:

The False Dichotomy:

You should always be skeptical when someone gives you a this-or-that, either-or rebuttal to an argument. When someone frames an argument as if there are only two choices/options, when there are many more, it’s called a False Dichotomy. Don’t let someone lead you down this rabbit hole. Keep your mind open for EACH AND EVERY possible solution. You will almost always find more than a couple.

The Strawman:

It is defined as: an intentionally misrepresented proposition that is set up because it is easier to defeat than an opponent’s real argument. Here’s a helpful example that I found on the internet:

Person 1: I like the rain.
Person 2: Yes, but if it is never sunny out, people will suffer from Vitamin D deficiency, all of our crops will die, and we will die of starvation.
This is a Strawman argument because Person 2 misrepresents Person 1’s argument to make it easier to attack. Person 1 never said that it shouldn’t be sunny.


Then there’s my personal favorite, which is sea-lioning. This is defined on Wikipedia as ‘bad-faith requests for evidence, or repeated questions, the purpose of which is not clarification or elucidation, but rather an attempt to derail a discussion or to wear down the patience of one’s opponent.’

For a good example, check out this tweet from Jack Jenkins:

as well as the subsequent responses from TGC writer Justin Taylor. Taylor wasn’t as interested in having a discussion as we was in attempting to muddy the waters, and derail the conversation. This is a form of trolling, and it’s pretty easy to gauge a person’s sincerity. Don’t let someone do you like that. Just ignore them.

There are probably many more ways in which people will attempt to manipulate you during an argument, but these are the three that I’ve faced most often. I hope this helps.

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