How do we argue amicably? Is this at all possible? When we are in an argument, the conversation becomes heated because the goal of the people involved in the argument is to win the battle. How then is it possible to argue amicably?

The dictionary defines argue as to give reasons or cite evidences in support of an idea, action, or theory, typically with the aim of persuading others to share one’s view. Arguing is an exchange or expression of diverging or opposite views, typically in a heated or angry way.

If we accept the fact that arguing is done in a heated or angry way, that will mean that our relationship issues will never be solved; we will always have conflicts and separation. However, if we embrace the other end of the line and resolve to argue amicably, we get to keep and grow our relationships. Following are some ways on how to argue amicably.

Put love above all

Always start your sentence with “I love you”. Followed by “But I have a different perspective.” Calm your opponent. You must give an indication that you care for the person you are in the argument with. You must make sure that whatever argument you have is not a personal attack but an expression of your thoughts and feelings toward the subject within the argument. A healthy debate is disagreeing freely while embracing each others’ characters. You love the person no matter how much you may disagree on certain matters. Put always to mind the saying, “Hate the sin, love the sinner”.

Stick to the present issue

When in an argument, stick to the arguments at hand. Do not bring up previous differences. Going back to past (supposedly solved issues) will just ignite your argument and not solve it. Discuss the present situation only. Once resolved, put it to rest and do not bring it up again should you have another argument.

Understand your opponent

Do your best to understand the opinion of the person you are in argument with. Put yourself in his/her shoes. Ask questions to clarify your understanding. Take note that your questions are not sarcastically stated.

Be a good listener

Do not interrupt when the person is speaking. This is your chance to really understand his/her point. Listen carefully and feel the person’s feelings, hurts, and arguments. You don’t always have to talk. Respond when you’ve listened well and have understood the other party; respond when you’re thinking clearly and are calm.

It is just human to be passionate about something but remember that an argument is about an issue and not about the person. Character assassination must not come to play when you have arguments. Choose your words; never use the word “ignorant”. You may mean that the opposing party does not have knowledge but ignorant is received very negatively. Avoid controversial language that may be understood in a distorted/negative way.

Know when to step out of the argument

Stepping out of an argument doesn’t mean you’ve conceded or have lost the argument. It just means you want a time out either to research more or to clear your mind and heart. A time out is best when emotions are getting high. If you think that you’ve been emotionally compromised, leave the argument respectfully.

Always focus on the real reason

An argument is inevitable. Think about the real or the ultimate goal when you are in an argument. If your desire is a good relationship, your ultimate aim is not about coming out as the winner. Your goal is to come out with an agreement that you both agree and feel good about.

Arguments are good and healthy for the mind; arguments allow us to expound our thinking. As John Milton said, “It is only through the free exchange in the marketplace of ideas will truth arise.” Strong friendships start from friendly arguments or arguing amicably. Freedom at home and in our society is a result of friendly arguments. This democracy is born from the fact that we do not consider as character attacks the opinions of others on our beliefs, our culture or our ideas. We freely share and respect each others’ opinion.

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