Why Do I Avoid Arguments

The fact that I stand vindicated every time has made me stay firm on my decision not to argue

Photo by Obie Fernandez on Unsplash

Most of my friends do not like me for this particular reason. Those who shared accommodation with me at some point or the other have never missed an opportunity to complain. I have also noticed at almost every stage of my professional career my colleagues have been more than happy to keep me out of their discussions.

There’s albeit a silver lining amid this cloud of negativity. My better half keeps telling me that it is one of my best qualities, if not the best. I’m happy with both the point of views. In fact I am happy as long no one drags me into an unnecessary argument.

It’s a tough stance, no two ways about it. There have been many occasions where I managed to make people argue about my firm stand so as to not get into an argument. My consistent reluctance rather continued refusal to indulge in a verbal onslaught has found few admirers, and I have had to face extreme displeasure as regards my supposedly obstinate attitude throughout.

In fact, it has led to a new argument altogether. Imagine people arguing about you and your disgusting habit, even accusing you of being an escapist, and yet you not being a part of that argument.

Over the years I have come to terms with the fact that people have that notion about me, and I am perfectly okay with it. Likewise, if people want to believe they are right so be it. I am more than happy to be assumed in a certain way, one that is not exactly favorable. There is absolutely no need to get into an argument to prove otherwise.

It is not that I cannot argue per se. If I really want to I can go full throttle, and with all guns blazing. However, repeated unpleasant experiences, both as a participant as also as a mute spectator, have made me understand that arguments are best avoided. Getting into one makes little sense, correction it makes absolutely no sense. As such I avoid getting into an argument with anyone, on any given topic, even if I am in the midst of an argumentative lot.

It was a decision I made very early in my life. I take pride in the fact that I have managed to stand firm on my decision in all these years. The fact that I stand vindicated every time I am witness to an argument makes me appreciate my decision even more. I realize having not only saved time and energy (in the short run) but also mental peace (in the long run) by avoiding an argument.

It is imperative to clarify that a discussion is not an argument. It may lead to one but as long as it remains in the ambit of a discussion I am more than happy to be a part of it. It is only when things take a turn for the worse that I start looking for a way out.

How does one differentiate between a discussion and an argument then, you may think. You are right in believing that there is a thin line between the two. Having said that, it requires nothing more than common sense to make out when a discussion is leading up to an argument.

Once you are aware of the eventuality it is up to you, as an individual, to make the decision; whether you want to get involved in that argument and face the consequences or do what I have managed so successfully in all these years…keep quiet and stay out.

Avoidance is not a permanent solution by any means. It is a smart one nonetheless. Unfortunately in the day and age that we live the level of tolerance has reached an absolute nadir. Few are willing to listen to another perspective, and even fewer have the patience to even allow others to make their point. At every juncture, you will meet people who are likely to make multiple attempts to drag you into an argument or two. However, what they are least in is your point of view.

The tendency is to drive home their point…loud and clear. When multiple individuals with a similar mindset start a discussion it is a matter of time before an argument ensues. Based on experiences and observations over the years below are five pragmatic justifications as regards why avoiding arguments has helped me, and will hold you in good stead as well.

1. Am I right or am I right?

It is a fact that needs to be accepted first and foremost. There are only a handful few individuals who admit to their mistakes and own up to them. The tendency is to point out the mistakes of others and make repeated attempts at proving them wrong. The same applies in the case of arguments.

When someone is making a point they will never admit to being wrong, even if they have been proven wrong. They will defend it to the hilt and put forth one counterargument after the other in a bid to validate their claims. That the others aren’t convinced about their arguments (and counterarguments) is the least of their concerns. Instead, they are busy proving the others wrong.

The same applies to the party that is opposing a point of view. Such a scenario, where no party is either accepting their fault or is willing to concede an inch, is what gets us to the second justification.

2. Where is it headed?

The simple answer is that it leads to nowhere-land, as real a destination as utopia.

When both the parties involved aren’t prepared either to understand the other’s perspective or are willing to back off can one even expect a logical conclusion of any kind?

The argument will linger on endlessly till it takes a drastic turn or the fatigue factor sets in. It is imperative here to understand that in both cases the argument hasn’t led to something constructive, let alone a solution.

In fact, such arguments can only be considered as continuation sans a conclusion, and as such a total waste of time.

3. There’s unnecessary animosity

This is in fact a more pragmatic outcome. Repeated arguments may not ensure anything constructive but they do have destructive tendencies, as in they may result in unnecessary animosity.

While people like to stick what they believe in, and detest being proven wrong, there is a complete volte face when it comes to giving the benefit of doubt to others. Few will agree that someone else may actually have a valid argument or is making a point that makes more sense.

During arguments it is only a matter of time before things get personal. One never realizes how and when things get from bad to worse. It is a kind of chain reaction, a domino effect. More importantly, in such a scenario there’s seldom any time left to ensure damage control measures. When self-esteem takes over logic goes for a toss and common sense is kicked out of…get the drift.

What’s left is fake pride, rancor and a lot of animosity towards the other person/group. It is not easy to either forget or forgive. These are emotions that stay in the subconscious for a considerable period of time, making every subsequent interaction with the same lot anything but pleasant.

If anyone justifies an argument as purely professional, adding there is nothing personal about it, rest assured the person is lying.

4. Every argument is agenda driven

It is not necessary that people making an argument entirely believe in whatever they say. It is more about what they are supposed to say.

In this day and age, each and every one has their own agenda, their own narrative and their own vested interests. As such, they remain hesitant to incorporate changes even if it is for the better.

A few may understand there’s absolutely no need to put down anyone and prove that they are wrong, but such personal opinion and conviction take a back seat when agenda or the ulterior motive comes to the forefront.

When the agenda needs adequate protection all the arguments are palpably centered around it, irrespective of the fact it makes any sense or not. The ultimate goal is to drive home the point, and the arguments put forth are only the means to that end.

5. Group theory and the changing dynamics

This one is probably the most irritating of them all.

There’s always a possibility that an individual is getting an upper hand in an argument, and another individual/group is fighting a lost battle. It is here that group theory offers a bailout package.

There’s a tendency to gang up and put that one person down. It does not matter who is right. They main motive is to make up numbers in a manner that the individual with the strong argument is forced into the back foot, rather pummeled to submission.

The group discussions in B-Schools, as part of interview procedures or for that matter in competitions is the perfect example of this group theory and changing dynamics. How many of those group discussions actually made sense? Didn’t they involve gang-ups? Weren’t they about one-upmanship?

Fact is, it’s always the majority who get things done the way they want, and it is no different when it comes to arguments. It doesn’t necessarily have to be right or for that matter justified but group theory does change the dynamics. When many with comparatively weaker arguments join forces you will have no chance, doesn’t matter how strong your point (or counterpoint) is.

In case you forget

Now that we’ve come to the end of the submissions rather my justifications as to why I prefer to avoid arguments, and now that you have finished reading them, let me take this opportunity to make a humble plea.

I completely understand everyone has a different opinion. I respect each and every opinion, and sincerely believe that every individual is entitled to have his/her own point of view. That’s exactly how it should be.

There will be many who may not agree with the above. It’s perfectly alright. I have no issues with a counterpoint or a different perspective. If someone comes up with an addition or two to the above justifications, or for that matter a complete antithesis to this I will be more than happy to read it.

That said, in case you want to have an argument with someone about what you have just read, and drive home the fact that you beg to differ, you have already been made aware of who is the last person to be that someone.

No arguments here…Please.

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Vickey Maverick

Vickey Maverick

‘Ditch the Niche.’ This is a humble effort at providing short insights as also detailed narratives on an array of topics to those readers who like some variety