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How to Argue Well

Most of us have probably witnessed our parents disagree about something. Where we may differ is how we saw that disagreement play out. Without throwing any parents under the bus, let's just say that growing up between my parents and my friends parents, I've witnessed an entire spectrum of how disagreements can play out.


The word "argue" carries a heavy connotation and because it's primarily viewed in a negative light, people tend to avoid arguments. However, most of the research on this topic tells us we should actually lean into arguments. The key is not to avoid arguments, but to argue well.

First, why should we argue? Second, what does it mean to argue well?


The benefits to arguing is that it helps us develop critical thinking skills, teaches us how to clarify and articulate complex thoughts, and helps us discern the best possible solution to the issues we face. The problem is these benefits seem devoid of most arguments we participate in or witness. The reason being: most people do not argue well.


Adam Grant gives us three rules to argue well:

  1. Argue like you're right, but listen like you're wrong.

  2. Instead of arguing to win, argue to learn.

  3. Acknowledge when the other person has made a good point.

A lot of people believe that people in healthy relationships don't argue, but in fact, the inverse is true. If in a relationship two people never argue, one is either failing to think critically or failing to speak candidly.


Arguing in and of itself is not the concern, it's how we argue that matters.


Action

Write the three rules to arguing well on a piece of paper in put it on your fridge.


Question

Are you arguing to win or arguing to learn?


Quote

"What evidence would change your mind?’ If the answer is ‘nothing,’ then there’s no point in continuing the debate.” - Adam Grant

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