Threatening to End an Argument 

I posted a tweet on Twitter a couple of weeks ago and was surprised by a rather large number of negative responses I received. The post seemed harmless enough…it said basically that you can’t win an argument by yelling. It suggested that rather than raising your voice you should improve your argument. 

I engaged one of the people who responded and said the most memorable statements are more often whispered than yelled. He replied that he wins most arguments by yelling. If yelling doesn’t work he then yells louder while threatening some form of violence. That he said, always does the trick. He said this method works with his kids especially well. 

Twitter limits tweets and responses to 280 characters so I could not even begin to properly reply. There is so much wrong with that line of thinking that I’d need 10 blog posts to do it justice. 

But let’s look at a couple of the problems with that thinking. First…arguing with your children? Really? The person didn’t say how old their kids were but that’s almost irrelevant. If they were very young it’s worse but arguing with your kids is just plain bad at any age. 

Next, arguing with anyone is a fools errand. No one truly wins an argument. Especially by yelling. 

Yelling is a sign that the “yeller” has lost control of their emotions. Threatening violence, especially against their kids, is a sign that they have lost control of their thinking. I can absolutely understand the frustration that comes from not being able to influence another person’s thinking. It can cause anyone to lose control. 

Losing control most often stems from the need to win. Winning an argument for many people means forcing their opinion on someone else. But losing control is far less likely to happen if your position is built with empathy and a sincere desire to help the other person in some way. 

While it’s possible to end an argument with shouts and threats it is not possible to win one that way. In fact, as the great Dale Carnegie wrote, “the only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it all together.” 

That doesn’t mean rolling over and playing dead. That means making your case supported by facts and a caring heart. If the other person is having a hard time hearing or understanding then whisper instead of yell. 

Remember, if somebody sees you yelling at a person because you think they are an idiot, that somebody may agree there is an idiot in the conversation but they might think the idiot is you. 

They might even be right. 

On a another note… Everyone can use a “nudge” towards success. I’m trying something new on Twitter. It’s called “Super Followers.” For $5 a month, that’s 17 cents a day, people can follow a part of my Twitter stream that is for subscribers only. It features short videos of me discussing leadership topics, sales tips and ideas for better overall relationships. I’m assuming there will be far fewer Super Followers than the million or so people who regularly follow me on Twitter. That will give me the opportunity to answer questions more throughly than I can on regular Twitter. Most of the answers will come in the evening cause we all have day jobs, right? Think of it as ”mentoring on demand!”

My goal with SuperFollowers is to build a better connection, one where I can help more and have a greater impact. I’m hoping it gives me a chance to mentor to a wider audience. It’s still new, we’ll see how it works. It’s a $5 dollar investment that may be the extra “push” you need to get to where you want to be. I’d be honored to be able to help get you there. 

You can find more information by clicking the Super Follow button on my Twitter profile page IN THE TWITTER APP.

How to Win an Argument

Dale Carnegie said that the only way to get the best of an argument was to avoid it. He was a very smart man. I suppose the title of this post is a little misleading because the fact is you really can’t win an argument. 


You may be able to use your words to beat someone into submission, you may be able to force someone to comply with your wishes and you may be able to make someone feel stupid and defeated. But you didn’t actually “win” anything. 


Arguing with someone to prove your point simply proves you lacked the communication skills to help someone else see things your way…willingly.


There will always be disagreements in relationships, whether business or personal, because when more one than one person is involved you’ll at least occasionally have two opinions. Most disagreements are easily resolved. But occasionally relationships can be “fixed” only through serious and conscientious effort to find some kind of agreement.


These kinds of discussions are more likely to be successful if conducted in a non-adversarial environment. It’s more productive to think of the disagreements as a difference that can be balanced or accommodated. It should never be seen as a battle you have to win. 


A mindset of “must win” does nothing but ensure that someone most likely loses. If you care about the other person even a little then you should realize that when they lose, you lose too. 

Even people with differing viewpoints should be able to find solutions that work for everyone…providing that you truly want to try.


Here’s a few ideas for lessening the chance that a disagreement turns argumentative:


Listen carefully to what the other person is saying. When I say listen I mean really really listen. If the first word out of your mouth when the other person stops talking is “but” then I just just about guarantee that you were listening to respond instead of listening to understand. If you don’t understand what they said or meant then ask… nicely. “What the hell is that supposed to mean” is an escalation phrase and I’m hoping escalation isn’t your goal.


Explain your views clearly, you don’t like guessing what the other person is thinking so don’t make them guess either. Finding common ground isn’t a race so slow down, choose your words carefully, once said they can be forgiven but it’s really really hard for someone to forget them.


Stay on topic. Don’t introduce new differences and most certainly don’t try to rehash old ones. When you’re tempted to fight fire with fire it would serve you well to remember that firefighters most often don’t use fire to put out another fire.


Cheap shots are just that, cheap. If you value the relationship then perhaps you should not use something cheap when trying to save something valuable from permanent damage.


Don’t embarrass yourself by suggesting that the other person is unable to see the big picture or incapable of thinking through the situation. If you think you’re talking to an idiot then perhaps you should just stop talking because the other person may feel the same way and if the discussion gets too far off track it’s possible you could both be right.


If your differences just seem impossible to reconcile (I’m nearly certain they are not) consider seeking help from an impartial person. A coach, mentor, valued friend, Pastor or a trusted family member are the most likely possibilities.


When a discussion escalates into an argument then everybody loses something. Don’t lose by arguing and never fool yourself into thinking that you’ve won. 

The next time you’re tempted to argue consider giving the other person a piece of your heart instead of a piece of your mind. You will both be better off in the end, that much I can assure you.