How To Win Arguments Without Losing Friends
This article is based on real events that happen to me about 15 years back. How to win arguments without losing friends. I lost several close friends because of my ego and arguments. I have learned so much from that experience that it is worth sharing with all.
I love connecting and learning from people in various industries to hear about the gems they have mined out of their life. But this was not the case with me back in my old days.
When I was young, I had a lot of friends and was admired by many. I used to be the person everyone counted on or came to for help to solve problems or seek advice. I was usually the first person to be invited to gatherings and events because I was simply close to many, as I loved socializing and valued friendships.
Then came the phase in my life when I thought “I was always right.” I began to argue with friends just for the sake of winning to prove myself right on many occasions. I learned this the hard way. Somehow, I gradually lost some of my close friends and family who were usually there for me. I realized I was no longer invited much for get-togethers, group holidays, or even a class reunion. This went on for about a few years, and it really hit me when I saw photographs of those events on social media.
Pema Chodron, the author of “When Things Fall Apart,” states, “When we hold on to our opinions with aggression, no matter how valid our cause, we are simply adding more aggression to the planet, and violence and pain increases. I was holding on to my opinion with aggression and felt that aggression present at many discussions and talks.”
Over the years I taught myself to realize the issues and to initiate changes by following “7 Methods of Winning Arguments without Losing Any Friend!”
- But First… Agreements - Simple arguments begin when one person asks a question from another person. It can be a friend who wants his or her other friends to share their beliefs regarding any topic or a manager asking for his or her subordinates to do certain tasks in a very specific way. To avoid arguments from the very beginning, look for something in the conversation, which you can agree upon. This is a great technique used to remember that for the most part, we all have a huge number of different ideas based on our knowledge and experiences but looking for a common ground to agree upon helps to keep viewpoints in perspective.
- Listen to Understand - It may sound challenging for some, but this is a vital part of all conversations. Listening to Understand what is being said helps to reduce a complicated situation from the very beginning. Giving space for your friend or acquaintance to express the thoughts that they are keen to share refers to the practice of “Freedom of Expression.” Maturity is when we allow ourselves to believe that we don’t always know everything so let’s give some space to someone just for a moment.
- Valid Facts – When you feel like expressing in return, after listening and understanding, share related information that you have based on facts that you know. Avoid arguments based on feelings, rumors, and emotions. Sticking to proven facts with controlled emotions does keep you grounded and firm.
- Self-control - Always maintaining self-control during an argument can be instrumental to swing the odds in your favor. Arguments are meant to prove your points with finesse and tact. Losing control while getting heated up may turn into a deadly war of words that can lead to personal attacks, and eventually get ugly. Remember, words once uttered can’t be taken back.
- Admit to Mistakes – During a discussion or argument, if you find yourself mistaken about anything, the best you can do is to own up to it right away and apologize. By doing this, people will take you more seriously and will see you as a person who is confident enough to admit to his or her own mistakes. It is also a humble way of being modest.
- Be Open-Minded – Today, being open-minded is a must. We are all unique with different emotions and understandings. Accepting differences is essential among friends and it should be mutual on both sides. If the foundation of your friendship is strong, having many discussions with each other on the positive side could help you all grow.
- Value Winning Relationships – The purpose of winning arguments gives you satisfaction for that moment, but is that everything for you? How about winning relationships instead! Friendships are invaluable. To lose that over arguing about politics, money, and about anything else may end up in regrets. So, accept the differences, have your moments and hug it out! The bond you have is way more genuine and stronger enough to sustain any misunderstandings.
My late mom advised me that, “it takes years to build your self-respect, but minutes to ruin it.” Listening to her words helped me realize the importance of asking myself what was more important to me. Now I find myself using my Leadership skills to share what I want to express but in a more distinctive manner.
“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting. To fight and conquer in all our battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting. He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot be victorious.”
– Sun Tzu
These words can be applied in strategizing and winning arguments. Arguments are part of our lives even if we like them or not. Arguments can happen with friends, colleagues, and partners and are often ego-driven and not worth the time. Sometimes the best way is to avoid it totally but if you do make it a habit then it can also be seen as a weakness.
Choose your fight wisely like Sun Tzu - The high ranking Chinese military general, tactician, and strategist wrote the ancient Chinese treatise called “The Art of War”. “He who knows when to fight and when he cannot be victorious.
I initiated building my friendship and network with old and new friends once again. I have managed to bridge the gap with the ones that I lost as I see a lot of progress made in this area through time. I choose to be more open-minded and a good listener than I was in the past, keeping my pride aside. Valuing people and their opinions do matter both in professional and personal areas. I do allow myself to express my point of view allowing my friends to understand my beliefs too as I address them.
“How to not lose your spouse during an argument….well let’s not get into that for now