Has Anyone Ever Won an Interpersonal Argument?

640px-Mocking_Bird_ArgumentLet’s face it. Arguments between two people are always futile. More often than not, they escalate, reinforce each person’s opinion and only serve to cause a (greater) rift between them. Angry minds are never logical minds. Once people have a strong emotional investment in an opinion, there is practically nothing that can change their minds – logic and reason be damned.

When two persons commit to any argument, it is almost certain that they have both already come to a conclusion, in the strictest sense. They have “concluded” thinking about the subject. Their minds are closed on the issue. Their “truths”, as far as they are concerned, are set in stone. To their minds, anyone who disagrees with them is either a fool or a lunatic. And of course, who but another fool or lunatic would consider the validity of another point of view?

I think most intelligent and mature people realize the futility of interpersonal arguments and yet many are frequently drawn into them nevertheless. Why? Personally, I think some enjoy the “excitement”. And righteous anger also gives some people a sense of empowerment that feels “good” to them at the time. But at what cost? Like a drug, there is almost always a downside after the initial high. Introspective people inevitably experience, regret, embarrassment and even self-loathing soon after the anger subsides. And then there is often damage to a valued relationship that must be considered as well.

But to answer my title question, yes, people have won interpersonal arguments – namely, those who have deftly avoided them in the first place. Some people are blessed with enough self-restraint to withhold their opinions in situations where they don’t really matter. Or, when their opinions do matter, they can simply “agree to disagree” without succumbing to the urge to sway the other person to their side by the brute force of their “impeccable” logic.

[James 1:19-21]

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