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How to Deal with People Who Like to Start Arguments

Some people just love to argue. Since you won't always be able to avoid them, learn some techniques for defusing the argument and keeping the peace.


  • Step 1: Understand people who like to argue Understand that argumentative people, especially if they tend to become aggressive, have a deep-rooted personal problem. They like to argue, and they like to win – period.
  • TIP: Unlike people who enjoy the mental exercise of debate, argumentative people argue because of the sense of power and control it gives them.
  • Step 2: Be aware and engage defusing techniques Recognize that the person who started to argue with you may be this kind of person. Begin to employ defusing techniques.
  • Step 3: Don't engage in an argument with them Don't get drawn into an argument or, if already drawn in, try to win it. You won't – at least not without causing the argument to escalate and possibly turn nasty.
  • TIP: Never let an argument become personal by using words that attack the person, and never say, "You are wrong."
  • Step 4: Listen to them Listen to what the person has to say and don't cut them off, which will only anger them.
  • Step 5: Show that you are listening and respect their view Use words that show you respect their views and repeat their main points to show that you are listening.
  • TIP: Some positive phrases to use are "I believe what you are saying is…," "I understand," and "Thanks for letting me know your opinion."
  • Step 6: Use self-control and stay focused on the issues Use self-control and stay focused on the issues being discussed. Don't let the person turn the discussion back into a no-win argument.
  • Step 7: Walk away If this person is determined to argue, say something neutral, like, "I'll have to give this more thought," and walk away.
  • FACT: Did you know? Researchers have tied participating in high school debate teams with increased literacy and higher grades.

You Will Need

  • Understanding
  • Defusing techniques
  • Self-control
  • Patience
  • Focus
  • A willingness to walk away

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