Wednesday, May 20, 2009

How to lose an argument even if you win it.

There are three mindsets with which people enter an argument.

1. I am going to show the other person the Truth.
2. I am going to find out the the other person's perspective.
3. I am going to let the other person know what my perspective is.

In the first case, you only have "winning" in mind. You are selfish, inflexible and arrogant. You demonstrate that your neither care that there may be another point of view, and you show that you do not value the relationship between you and the other person. You don't even listen to him or her. You immediately attack the other person before he or she has finished giving their opinion, showing your disregard and disrespect.

In the latter two cases, even though you believe in true truth, you also acknowledge that your understanding of it may be incomplete or flawed.

In the second case, you realize that point-of-view and perspective affect the understanding of a matter, so you value the other person's point-of-view and want to be certain you understand the other person's understanding of the matter. You value the relationship, so you give them time to fully express their point, without taking offense or "getting your feelings hurt."

You are able to separate your feelings from your argument even though feelings may be closely attached to the thoughts. You understand that it is possible for you to be wrong, and you are OK with changing your mind.

The third case was put third on purpose, because doing so shows that you respect the other person and it earns respect back from him or her.

If you only use the first case, you lose the argument, even if you win it, because you damage the relationship to the other person.