How to not win arguments

Markus is the most intelligent person I know, if not the most considerate. With the grace of a calm sea, he can listen to anyone’s argument, restate all the points better than you did, and explain all the concepts you missed while reassuring you that he understands why you thought that way to begin with.

Oh, I hate his arguing skills.

Clearly, a dictator

We discuss issues often – policies, philosophies, society and mass psychosis, climate change, and so on – and his larger perspective, both practical and idealistic, is equally fascinating and irritating.

Even more is the way he argues. While I can channel your everyday dictator – passionate and simplistic with the patience of an ambulance in traffic, Markus goes full diplomat on me – curiously asking questions, citing the bigger picture, and presenting, not even defending, his points as if he is young Dumbledore.

Sometimes we reach a consensus, other times not, mostly because our fundamental views of what makes us human differ. And that is okay. The point in arguing is that both sides are heard and understood.

This is why nobody wins our arguments. There is nothing to be won. We discuss to be informed, to gain a new perspective, and to find better solutions out of more neurons.

Though one day I will squish that smug face of his.

***

Micah, on the other hand, has no problems calling things what they are. Or people, for that matter. I truly admire that about her.

It’s all nice and proper, recognizing that we live in a relativistic world. That absolutes tend to be arbitrary. That anyone’s motivations come from a place they believe is “right”. The problem is that it can easily lead to mental paralysis. And boy do I get paralyzed at times – until Micah snaps me out of it.

*processing*

The same is true for lofty ideals. Yes, there is a lot of potential for greatness everywhere and in everyone. But at the end of the day, potential is not real until it has been realized. So, until that point, banking on it is little more than delusional at best and destructive at worst. Micah rightly tends to remind me of this, and it helps me keep my feet on the ground.

But perhaps this shows why nobody wins our arguments – they are not arguments to begin with. Arguments tend to be an exercise in wanting to be right and wanting to prove the other wrong.

Merriam-Webster defines a “conversation” as an “oral exchange of sentiments, observations, opinions, or ideas”, which seems to fit much better. It is explorative, engaging, and collaborative. Maybe we would all be better off arguing less and conversing more – and maybe I would now be better off trying to rein in that smug face of mine.

Published by Markus + Micah

We are Markus + Micah. We live in a tiny house by the sea, grow our plants, cook plant-based food, travel, and design wellness retreats and mindful programs so we can all live meaningful lives.

54 thoughts on “How to not win arguments

  1. This is an admirable post from both of your perspectives. It shows maturity, mindfulness, love and respect for the other. Thank you for sharing this, and hopefully you made clear what argumentation is. The best of luck to you both!

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  2. lol these photos of you both are hilarious!! I feel the same about my partner – I try so hard to make my point eloquent and comprehensive and then my partner is like hmm here are all the holes in everything you said πŸ˜‚
    But the point isn’t who wins, it’s how much we can learn from each other. ❀️

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    1. Your discussions sound like a lot of fun. I am not the type to organize my thoughts. I just say what I think. Markus puts a lot of thought into everything, which is why his perspective is interesting for me.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. As always, you two manage to be fun and insightful at the same time. Love this. My husband and I rarely argue, since we almost always think the same. But we discuss and dissect topics a lot, which is fun. I think always agreeing but never talking makes for a boring relationship!

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    1. Thank you! It is a lot of fun to talk about things, especially those larger than ourselves. I look forward to asking Markus what he thinks since it is often different from mine. What do you enjoy dissecting? Do you talk about the books you have read, like that?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Books, movies, tv series, our childhood stories πŸ˜‚ I also tell him most of what I read, because it helps me sort out my thoughts for my review, and it helps him get ideas on how to tell stories or how NOT to tell them (i rant a lot about books tooπŸ˜‚)

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  4. I absolutely love this post! You two make me smile. πŸ˜€
    The two points of view and how you two complement and balance each other. πŸ’•
    Many great incites and relationship/communication strengths.

    “potential is not real until it has been realized” ✨

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  5. You are a beautiful couple. Sometimes we discuss but then we hug. Peace and Love to you πŸŒΉπŸŒΊπŸŒΈπŸŒΌπŸŒ»πŸ’

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    1. Thanks. Yes, I mean, there is wisdom in talking about things and doing so from a team standpoint is important. We do not work against each other because that is counterproductive, isn’t it? And yes, hugs are essential! Thank you for your comment and welcome to our blog!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Love this! Your styles clearly compliment each other.

    My default, when engaging with someone who seems bent on “winning” an “argument” in a given conversation, is to just listen, maybe nod my head a few times to confirm I’m hearing them. I learn so much about the person in this way (both good and bad), and they appreciate being heard. I don’t say “I agree” or otherwise confirm their position (or bias). I just listen. It’s a skill learned as a mediator. But with this approach I also avoid any confrontation, and – amazingly – the next time we talk, they’re far more willing to listen to me, because I afforded them that courtesy in the past. And that’s when a true, respectful dialog can begin.

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    1. Incredibly smart diplomatic strategy, Rebecca. I agree, sometimes all we can do is listen, especially when the person we are speaking with is not ready to listen to us. It does not matter what we say in this case!

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  7. Can I just say you guys are so cute?

    But seriously, learning to argue well takes time and effort, and lots and lots and lots of listening to each other. Which you both obviously do. And respect and trust. And yes, to agree to disagree.

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    1. Thank you. Yes, you are right. I seriously wish I can get up to speed with Markus. I also know that I can be reactive sometimes and this does not help in presenting points. How do you argue?

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      1. When we were a young couple, arguing meant me shouting and Loving Husband withdrawing. Not very satisfying.

        Decades down the road, he has learned to listen to my feelings (not just the words) and I have learned to trust, so our arguments are more heated discussions, and we typically end up laughing, or sometimes forgetting why we started the argument in the first place.

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        1. Thank you for giving us a glimpse of your growth as a couple. It does take time, doesn’t it? But as you said, we learn and eventually figure out how to laugh about it.

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          1. You guys have such a wonderful start. I love that you have this blog together as well – we have discovered that shared experiences are so bonding.

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  8. This so so cute. Life is all about different opinions. It would be very boring if we all thought this same way. Why do so many people need to be right all the time? I admit I was that way when I was younger but I have mellowed with age. LOL

    β€œMaybe we would all be better off arguing less and conversing more” – This is a quote for the ages!

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    1. Thank you, Michelle. Yes, thank heavens for maturity, right? I suppose it has got to be something with ego. We have to be right and important and special to the point that we do not listen or close our minds. Sad, really.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I love this post. My husband is the logical one who can graciously summarize the situation in two sentences while I’m the straightforward wordy one who just says stuff. We balance each other, so we converse more than argue.

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  10. I remember the quote “the best way to win an argument is to avoid it”
    Arguing is about WHO is right. I think we should be more concerned with finding out WHAT is right rather than WHO and this requires radical openmindedness and humility

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I suppose in the end no one person is right or wrong! It depends on where you are standing. That is highlighted here on global WP where your lives and living are very different from mine or the person in America or Russia or where ever! πŸ™

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    1. Agreed. Circumstances and context play a big part. Markus and I often talk about how The Ph government is portrayed or understood by international media. They use their circumstances and apply it to us. Very different.

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      1. Our style is very similar to yours. We agree on almost everything, so there is no reason to argue. We’ve been married almost 57 years. I can’t imagine arguing for that long.

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  12. Another great post by both of you. I have “Yes, Dear” button that Linda gave to me for Christmas a couple of years ago. It has 12 sayings on it from “Yes, Dear,” through to “I couldn’t absolutely agree more!” It comes in handy sometimes πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚

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  13. great post you 2. Love your mugs and smart coversive convos.
    My husband says I’m always right but he means that sarcastically.
    I have a sign in the kitchen that says a “Dad’s in charge, right mom”?
    🀣❀️🌷

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Many thanks, Cindy. The sign is super fun. I am sure you have your own unique ways of dealing with each other’s opinions after many years of marriage. What do you do when you cannot seem to get an agreement?

      Liked by 2 people

  14. First – this is such a cute post!
    “But perhaps this shows why nobody wins our arguments – they are not arguments to begin with. Arguments tend to be an exercise in wanting to be right and wanting to prove the other wrong.” – I wish more people understood this. It suddenly feels like we’re in a world where everyone is opiniated and so fixed in their thinking that most conversations end up becoming arguments. People are so fixated on being right and winning the argument – that it doesn’t leave scope for a conversation.

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    1. Thanks, Moksha. Seems you are finding time for your blog again, seeing you here. I hope you find more space for yourself and breathe more. You have been working hard lately! And yes, I suppose this attitude springs from “the other”, how there is a separation between us and the rest of the world so one of us must be right and the other wrong instead of working together and understanding this connection we all have.

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