What Is Argument Etiquette?
It is not uncommon to find men act uncouth when they argue, mainly when they discuss politics and sports. It appears that etiquette is not a thing during such conversations. All you see is rude interruptions, loud yells, exaggerated gestures, and a massive display of ego. Guys, at what point did we agree to put courtesy in the trash can while arguing? Do we think impoliteness and violence are necessary during arguments?
The other day, I was at a bus stop, hoping to get on board a bus early so that I could continue my long trip. Behind me was a newspaper vendor, who like an exposed cube of sugar covered up by ants, was surrounded by men who aired their views ― informed and otherwise ― on a trending national issue. The main characters ― the ones who spoke the loudest and sounded most informed ― were two men who many tried to listen to, while a few others ignored, and just kept on talking. One of both men displayed his eloquence and mastery of English through his cacophonous speech. The other, much younger and smaller in stature, wasn’t as eloquent, but had his facts, even though he was also harsh in expressing them.
I listened to them passively while I waited for a bus, which I hoped would arrive early. I must have endured the noise for about five minutes before the bombshell dropped. I heard the more eloquent man say something that gave me a little shiver. He confidently said that there had never been a female president in the entire world and that it was impossible. I found it uneasy matching such ignorance with his eloquence. I felt more perturbed when he claimed he couldn’t be wrong because he had a master’s degree, and his interlocutor didn’t. It looked as if he had the requirements for winning such unintelligent arguments, judging by how everyone cheered him. And of course, the focus is always on winning, not learning. But should arguments go that way? Can males show some civility when they argue? Let’s talk about this.
5 Argument Etiquette Rules
Use Positive Language
Use positive language while you argue. Say “I” instead of “you,” give credit when the opportunity arises, for instance, “You’re right about that.” There’s no need to sound insulting. You also don’t want to make it look as if the other person is senseless ― even if they seem so.
Keep your Body Language Open
It is polite to give verbal and nonverbal cues when others are speaking. While you argue, have and show some interest in what others say. Nod at intervals, say okay, really? Just listen to learn and only speak when it’s your turn. Don’t fold your arms, don’t give stern or condescending looks; be civil! Remember it’s an argument, not a fight.
Ask for Clarification if Needed
“I want to be sure I understand correctly, do you mean…?” “I heard you say…am I correct?” You don’t want to assume you understand, then respond inappropriately. Maintain polite body language, and ask for all clarification calmly.
Pause Briefly before Responding
Pausing would be easier if you follow the points above. Ability to pause before responding shows that you’ve been listening. It also helps you put your thoughts together, so you don`t react impulsively. However, ensure you don`t wait too long before responding, so it doesn’t seem like you ignored them.
Help them Save their Face
If they eventually see things your way, don’t get cheeky. Don’t put it to their face that you were right. Avoid saying, “That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you,” “I knew it,” or similar expressions ― not even if it is so glaring that you’re right.
In a Nutshell…
Remember, you don’t have to win an argument. If you have to argue, do so with an open mind and be courteous; be willing to learn from other participants, and contribute constructively. Engage intellectually, not physically. Remember these tips when next you’re at the football viewing centre arguing who the G.O.A.T is, or at the newspaper stand, and everywhere else. There’s a gentlemanly manner of arguing. Imbibe it!
Do you wish to be better at etiquette? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter.