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6 Ways to Gain an Advantage During an Argument

Arguing from a place of victory and health

We all argue! Some people scream. Some people say mean things. Some people get pushy. Some people fight dirty by using secrets against the other person. Some people fight without using any words. Some people stay silent. Some people will wait for the right moment to get back at someone.

Regardless of your style you will argue at some point.

What if I told you that there is a way to gain an advantage for your next argument?



Yes, you read that right. There is a way to gain an advantage and walk away better for it!

Early in my relationship, with my wife, we were something of expert arguers. I was loud, obnoxious, rude, and mean. I knew what to say and when to say it in order to get the greatest impact. I was passionate. I was calculating. She didn’t stand a chance.

I ended up hurting her more than helping our relationship.

I felt like a champ. I had won the argument. In reality, I was a chump. I may have “won” the argument, but at what cost?

Over the years I have had to learn how to argue from a place of health.

It hasn’t always been easy.  Even as I write this I realize that arguing from a place of heath rarely is easy.

Let me give you a few of the ways that have helped me gain an advantage in an argument.

1. I had to realize that the goal of an argument is not the going for the “win”, but learning to communicate.

The number 1 reason that relationships fail is lack of communication. When I am going for the win I am not interested in communication I am interested in winning. Then I think about the true goal of any argument. The true goal is that I am heard and that the other person understand me. Arguing may not be the best method of this, but it doesn’t change what I want to accomplish. If I want to be heard, and not just listened to, then I have to learn to hear what others are saying as well. Don’t go for the win. Go for being understood while you endeavor to understand the person you are with.

[clickandtweet handle=”@jim_burgoon” hashtag=”” related=”jimburgoon.org” layout=”card” position=””]If I want to be heard, and not just listened to, then I have to learn to hear what others are saying as well.[/clickandtweet]

2. Learn to fight for what is right and not who is right.

If I had a dime for every time that I needed to be right then I would be a rich man. I am thinking you may face this as well. Something inside of us desperately needs to be right. We don’t care who we hurt to get it. What if you decided to argue from the point of what is right and not who is right? The dynamic of the argument would take a different shape completely. You will find yourself discussing more than arguing.

3. Use positive affirmations when trying to get your point across.

Acknowledged that you heard and understand what the other person is trying to communicate. If you go into an argument thinking the person you are disagreeing with is an enemy or stupid then you will treat them like that. When you label them you will treat them according to the label that you gave them. When this is the case, no one wins. Learn to affirm the person. Tell them that you have heard what they are saying. Ask questions. Repeat back what you felt like you heard. Allow them to be heard. Affirm their belief and share why you may not agree. That will give you a huge advantage in any argument as it pulls the argument away from anger and into the realm of understanding.

4. Work on your pride.

You can tell if you are full of pride when someone challenges you and you act in an unloving or indigent manner. It is ok to be challenged. It is healthy to be challenged. It would be utterly boring if your significant other wasn’t allowed to present a different side to the argument. Growth happens best when two people can come to an understanding in the midst of a disagreement. When you are personally challenged, learn take the road of humility. Remember, you are in a relationship with the person who is challenging you. They are not your enemy. You are not as big and bad or as smart as you think you are. Drop the pride and come to an understanding.

5. Don’t be a know it all.

No one likes a know-it-all. In fact, we like a know-it-all even less when we are arguing with them. It is terrible when you discover that you are the know-it-all in the argument. The is the worst feeling. I don’t know about you, but I can be a know it all at times. I know how you hurt me. I know how I want this argument to end. I know how I want you to respond. I know how I want you to act in the future. Does that sound like you? Having this type of mentality only leads to more problems. Why? Because, as we disagree, I am going to lead you to where I think you should be. That means I am not listening to you. When we are in a relationship together that is a sure sign that I do not respect you.

6. Have properly communicated boundaries.

A boundary that isn’t communicated is a boundary that isn’t followed. We all have boundaries. Most times we don’t communicate those boundaries. For example, when my wife and I disagree (loudly) we are not allowed to insult one another. The moment that happens the discussion is over and we revisit the issue later. That is a boundary. You need to set boundaries and communicate them. Do this before your next disagreement. This way you can navigate through the boundaries as you try to determine how to come to a place where you see eye to eye in the disagreement.

A boundary that isn’t communicated is a boundary that isn’t followed.

[clickandtweet handle=”@jim_burgoon” hashtag=”” related=”jimburgoon.org” layout=”card” position=””]When we disagree I want to know how much you care. I am not interested in how much you know.[/clickandtweet]

Just because I argue with you doesn’t mean that I love and respect you less. In fact, I believe that we all need disagreements from time to time. It sharpens us. It grows us. It matures us. It keeps our relationship strong.

[clickandtweet handle=”@jim_burgoon” hashtag=”” related=”jimburgoon.org” layout=”card” position=””]True relationships allow for disagreement. They allow for others to challenge of our thinking.[/clickandtweet]

Join The Conversation: Which one of the ways do you need to work on? What are some methods that you have used to help you fight fairly?  Comment below!

About the Author Jim

  • Diane Haenning says:

    During a disagreement, I am always reminded of Proverbs 15:1 that says, “A soft answer turneth away wrath, but grievous words stirs up anger.” (NIV) It is always better not to shout/yell to get your point across.

    Jim, you have very good points on having a healthy disagreement. Thanks for all you are doing.

    • Jim says:

      Diane thank you for your feedback! The verse you quoted fits so perfectly! If we would just watch the way we talk to people while keeping our anger in check our conversations would be much healthier!

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