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Editorial: The art of a successful argument

Last updated on February 17, 2016

By: Sara Keen, Editor-in-Chief


We have all had that experience online, when someone decides they want to argue over a topic that we are well prepared for in comparison.  Sometimes the arguments can turn into nightmares, other times the arguments are over within minutes.  It just depends on the subject, and possibly more importantly, the person.  

Some arguments are, as some would say, a waste of breath.  One side refuses to lose or compromise while the other side is just tired of trying to argue.  The best advice I can give for these is to simply let the argument die.

It can be hard to leave an argument for both sides, but sometimes it hits a point that you just want to stop.  It is also perfectly okay to stop, even if you do not want to feel defeated.  Defeat happens to everyone, just look at Ash Ketchum from Pokémon, he’s always being defeated in some way.

A prime example of a waste-of-breath argument is any argument over a moral issue.  Anyone who has taken English Composition 1020 has probably heard the professor list a number of topics, such as abortion or assisted suicide, that they refuse to take papers on.

The reason for this is because morals vary from person-to-person and are not easily changed through an argument.  Typically, a person’s moral argument is based on their own opinions more so than facts.  There is no right or wrong answer in the end because the argument is already based on individual views.

If you ever find yourself stuck in an argument that you are not prepared for, you can always back out.  There is no shame in accepting that you were not right in an argument, and it makes you look better than struggling to respond.

If the issue is more from a lack of knowledge, then use Google.  Seriously, I have never understood why people say “you just Googled that,” when you respond with information or a link.  If you Google it, at least you are making an attempt to learn and understand the subject you are arguing about.

To think that everyone has prior knowledge to a subject is ridiculous.  There is no way of knowing absolutely everything in the world.  Our minds are not able to do that yet.  So do not feel bad if you have to Google something in the middle of an argument so that you avoid making a fool of yourself.

There are some fights that you simply do not have time for.  Yes, you have done your research and you have learned all that you can about the subject, but that does not mean that you have to spend hours arguing with a person.

In instances like that, I find it easier to hang on to a few links in the note section of my phone so that I can just post them.  If the topic means that much to the person, then they will read them.  In the likelihood that it does not, you have completely avoided a terrible argument.

Social media has sparked numerous arguments and debates in the past few years.  It is best to be ready for one on a topic that you are passionate about, especially if you are a vocal person on Facebook.


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