Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Art of Argument

After two grueling weeks of insane deadlines I found myself without a blog topic today. Three mugs of caffeinated creativity later - inspiration hit. Well, not quite inspiration – more like 2 heated emails, a battle with my beloved offspring regarding his wardrobe choice and a call from a reader, irate over her daughter’s picture on the front page. (“She looks chunky!” God help me.)

From all that - I got this: I enjoy a good debate.

Merriam-Webster’s defines debate: 1) A discussion involving opposing claims; an argument. (2) A regulated contest in which two opposing sides defend and attack a proposition.

I define debate: 1) I’m right – you’re wrong. 2) Accept it or buckle up!

Yes, at first blush this sounds *gasp* stubborn. But as long as I maintain an even temper, listen to the opponent’s points and argue my case sans profanity and/or bloodshed, what’s the problem? Here’s my method:

Babble’s Top 10 Debate Strategies

10. Compliment: Whether confronting a family member, co-worker or political rival – lead with warmth. (The kill comes later.)

9. Smile: This visual cue says 1 of 2 things; “I am kind” or “I am deranged” - let them guess.

8. Eye Contact: Maintain to the point of discomfort. (This method sways above mentioned Smile into deranged category, thus instilling a false sense of mental superiority and/or fear within opponent.)

7. Know Your Facts: For the love of all that’s Holy - know what the *BLEEP* you are talking about! Flying by the seat of your pants only leads to an unexpected load of whites and heaps of Stain Stick.

6. Be Humble: Nobody likes a bragger! If your wife owns two Cadillacs, keep that factoid parked in the garage between the Bentleys!

5. Establish Common Ground: “You like ice cream, Mr. Opponent? I like ice cream, too! I should friend you on Facebook!”

4. Mull: Before contradicting – contemplate. This works well with spouses. (“Will harping on the dirty socks blanketing the bedroom floor help my case?”)

3. Words: Pick carefully! Once they leave your mouth – they leave an impression. Avoid shore-leave language.

2. Concise – Cannot believe I’m typing this – don’t babble. Make your point – make an exit.

1. Respect: Bottom line – you’re right and you know it, but the other side may never see it that way. Call a truce before things get ugly. Hitting below the belt never works – stay above the waist. (Egad – I’m flashing back to Catholic school slow dance rules.)

Happy Spring!


Jennifer Wilck said...

Love this! So funny. I'm not good with debates, arguments, whatever, but I agree with your points and have used them myself when there's no way to get around it (the argument, not your points). My personal preference, however, is smiling, playing up to their sense of superiority and then going in for the kill when they least expect it. Let them start out thinking I'm stupid, they'll soon see the error of their ways!

Anonymous said...

Love this, because I'm a natural debater, too. I've really had to cool my jets in this political climate.

Bethany C. said...

ROFLMAO! THIS LIST IS BRILLIANT! I just might make my next blog post a link to this post. #8 will keep me smiling for days!!!

Leigh Covington said...

You always come up with the best posts! They are so fun to read. We are totally the same in the "debate" category! I love it!

Kathryn Elliott said...

Hello Lovely Ladies of the Blogosphere!

Jennifer - I have no doubt your debate skills are top shelf! You are a Mom, after all!

Jane - Don't get me started on politics! LOL I'm casting my vote in November for whomever annoys me least - is that wrong?

Bethany - Hey there! #8 works well with children as well. BTW - Loved your trailer!

Leigh - Glad I have a sister-debater! I think the Mom/Writer mix breeds strong argument-savy skills. :-)