Friday, December 19, 2014

Turning the Verbal Cheek: Avoiding Forceful Defense When Not Required

We are wired biologically to attack and defend whenever we perceive threat. Therefore, it's easy ("natural") to fight about things; it's much harder to prove that you have no desire to attack - or defend forcefully. Often, perceived threats are not meant to be threats and only become such because of our reactions to them.  In other words, we often start arguments when none need occur simply by defending what isn't being attacked.  (and this occurs online much more often, because there is no way to see someone as they type and judge the intent of their words based on their body language - and because anonymity breeds aggression that often would not occur in person)

In situations where someone says something with which I disagree (even strongly, but not enough to feel I have to refute what they say), I usually just grin broadly, let my eyes twinkle a bit and say, "I like you WAY too much to fight about this" (sometimes with a hand on the other person's arm or shoulder, depending on the person) - then turn and walk away or start another, safer conversation.

It either calms the person down or makes him even madder - but, in a group setting where everyone hears what I say, it's impossible for the other person to keep arguing without coming across as a total jerk. I hope for the calming response, but if the madder response is unavoidable, so be it. At least the argument ends - or doesn't occur at all.

1 comment:

Angie said...

Your blog is one of my absolute favorites, and I read it regularly. Thank you for posting your thoughts. Your ideas make sense to me, and I agree with your view of the Gospel.

I'm going to remember this, "I like you way too much to argue with you about this..."

My husband thanks you in advance. :-)