We all know people who love to argue, get upset, “get their feelings hurt,” draw things out and never let it go. That might sound insensitive, but no! The insensitive thing would be to ignore these people and the situations that go along with them.
First of all, if you find yourself in a situation with this sort of person, don’t hold back. Engage yourself. It’s healthy to express ourselves and communicate your feelings. Plus, you can’t end an argument that does not exist. So, for the sake of this article we must have one. You may be a lover, not a fighter, but that doesn’t mean you are always surrounded by like-minded folk. These people could include best friends, mother-in-laws, landlords, siblings or whiny pubescent teenage time-bombs — whatever the case, I find these five tactics may lead to peaceful resolution.
Tactic # 1: Apathy
Apathy is a wonderful expression because it is neither submissive nor threatening. Simple dismissal or lack of emotion is usually very uninteresting in an argument. You can make your objection clear without being overexcited about it. The antagonist often finds this dull and sees no point pursuing an unavailing attempt to fight with you.
The word “sarcasm” is derived from a Greek word meant to describe the way wild dogs tear flesh off the bones of their prey. If you know how to use it, sarcasm is word artillery at its finest. The right comment with just enough sarcasm smeared on it will act fast and hit unexpectedly, knocking the wind out of any confrontation. I do not recommend this strategy with authority figures. But for that annoying, little, know-it-all preteen or adolescent, this is perfect.
This has proved very effective with the particular breeds of people who are right no matter what. The question you want to stop and ask yourself in an argument with someone of this nature is, “How many minutes of my life do I want to waste being unconditionally wrong?” is the answer:
A. Until I’m interrupted by a phone call or hit by a bus?
B. Until the four-minute song on the radio that I’m focusing all my attention on is over?
C. Just long enough to realize I can’t even enjoy the song because he or she is talking over it?
D. Until my brain ruptures inside the skull acting as a defensive self-destruct mechanism?
The answer is C, my friends,and the solution is, say whatever is wanted and get on with your life.
Tactic # 4: Flattery
Flattery is your man, if you are looking for a win/win solution. You are in the middle of a meaningless squabble with your best friend, a simple complement or act of love puts you one step closer to reconciliation. Point out how nice it is that you have acquired the level of closeness necessary for this relentless bickering. Or comment on a new accessory or hair style they are wearing. Not only does it make him or her feel good, but it makes you feel good to say it — and two happy people make bad odds for an argument.
Tactic # 5: Start to cry
This is the end-all, be-all technique for when all else fails. Get those juices flowing. Squeeze out a few tears — even better if you can pull off a full-fledged hysterical crying/breathing fit with snot bubbles and all. Really make the antagonist uncomfortable. Discomfort equals confusion equals defenses down. The situation may be weird for a moment, but the awkward silence should end the argument effectively.