How to Win an Argument

Some great advice from Mila Jaroniec on ThoughtCatalog. Her top two tips:

Remain calm.Appeal to science as often as possible.

Imagine this: as your opponent’s blood pressure gets higher and higher and they start waving their arms around like a red-faced loon, there you sit, calmly, evenly, acknowledging them with a steely gaze. There’s no way for their emotions to go but up, but you, master of disguise, are cool as a cucumber — even though you may be positively boiling on the inside. When every overblown accusation is met with a cool, calculated response, your opponent has no choice but to feel either tongue-tied or crazy. Either way, this is a win for you. One cannot reason with crazy.

There is only so much people can do about facts. If you have to have a list of references at hand (hell, even Wikipedia counts sometimes) which you mercilessly lob at your opponent to stun and kill their argument, so be it. Nothing is off-limits. If they even attempt to respond to a claim you make with “And where did you get that?” you simply toss your list of references at them like a fluffy towel and watch them stammer and try to collect themselves. Of course, this means you must have a ready and working list of references for commonly-argued-about things at all times, but that’s a small price to pay for being right.

However, I would add that if you are male and arguing with your girlfriend/wife, I’d ignore the second tip. Speaking from experience here….

Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.