If you think arguments are like fights, you’re clearly misguided.

Here’s what most people don’t know about the etiquettes of proper argumentation.

Abhishek Chakraborty
May 26 · 6 min read

Arguments aren’t fights.

In the 1980s and 1990s, University of Washington psychologist John Gottman had hundreds of married couples argue, glare, and reveal embarrassing things about each other in front of camera in his ‘love lab’. After doing this for 9 straight years, Gottman announced his findings in 1994.

Don’t score points. Achieve goals instead.

If you work in a creative filed, I’m sure there will be clash of ideas and heated discussions every once in a while. At some point, your colleague would say something like, “That’ll never work,” and your instinct might be to reply back, “What makes you so cocksure?” in an attempt to score some ego points.

Avoid the past and present. Rely on the future.

In arguments, blames usually deal with the past: “Why were you late?” Values deal in the present: “Is the company’s current strategy ethical?” And C hoices have to do with the future: “Should we Netflix and chill?”

Endnote

In matters dealing with your spouse or your partner, things can be a bit different. Never forget to show sympathy: “I understand you are in a bad mood.” Empathise: “I would behave the same way had I been in your position.” Then wrap it up by switching to the future tense: “Let’s find a way to make this work so that it doesn’t happen again.” Reconciliation always lies in the future.

Coffee&Junk

Notes on making better decisions, persuading others, and getting things done.

Abhishek Chakraborty

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I write about practical life skills to help you live in a world you do not fully understand: http://coffeeandjunk.com

Coffee&Junk

Notes on making better decisions, persuading others, and getting things done.