Are You The Argumentative Communicator

Who Ends Up Being Avoided?

By Ange Fonce

Do you enjoy playing the devils advocate? 

Are you constantly offering your opposing opinion when it is not asked for? 

Do you find yourself saying the word but often in your conversation with others?

You may be an argumentative talker and I know from personal experience such people can be very frustrating to build effective communication with that can be of benefit to both of you. 

This is not an effective way to take an opposing view of others opinions... beliefs and values and it will destroy rapport. 

This is not a way to express your opinion and it may be received as unwanted advice and resisted. 

When you continue to oppose the comments of your listener you run the risk of making them feel wrong... stupid or uninformed and that is not a productive way to build rapport with them in fact you will get the opposite response and they will resist you and even fight back at you.

Men and women seem to view communication differences in different ways and I often notice that men will say... 

"We had a debate." 

"We had an intense conversation." 

And women will indicate that they had... 

"We had a fight." 

"We had an argument."

The argumentative communicator whether it is a man or a woman best be aware that their communication efforts may immediately be perceived as a fight being the worst of the four above labels regardless of the intent of the communicator.

I find a good debate stimulating and enlightening and debates generally can be described as a structured discussion where individuals cite evidence about an issue in an attempt to persuade another person and debate is an intellectual process where it is okay and preferable to be able to prove the point being made and while I do enjoy debating very much... I do not enjoy arguing which is emotionally based.

Arguing is where two or more people disagree about some subject and they raise their voices and make the discussion personal by bringing in the other persons intentions because they are no longer listening... they are ATTACKING!

So what is the difference then between debate and an argument?

In debate we cite evidence with the intent to persuasively validate our point of view. 

It is like a chess game.

In arguments we cite evidence and make claims about the negative intention of the other persons behaviour and become very emotional to the point where apologies will be in order after the communication is finished because one or both parties will have their feelings hurt and in an argument the individual feels attacked and when the attack is perceived as hostile with intention to harm... I call this a fight.

Perceptions are tricky things... one person may be simply debating or discussing a subject intellectually with no intent to harm... the other person may perceive such communication as intending to harm them and they feel as if they are in a fight with a need to defend themselves instead of their point of view!

Sometimes it takes quite a long time for the person who is debating to finally figure out that the other person is upset and fighting.

There are no easy and clearly defined answers to rapidly determine whether someone thinks YOU are arguing... fighting... debating or discussing so it is vital to ask if it is okay to have this conversation or at least smile. 

It is also important to keep sarcasm out of discussions and debates if it is not obvious to the other person that you are having fun with them... instead of poking fun at them.

The Argumentative Communicator Needs To Be Right

They want to defeat their opponent as if the dining room... the bedroom  which is a really stupid place to create negative anchors and the boardroom is a courtroom where only one person can win.

Whether at home on the road or in business it is critical to remember that it is very easy for no one to win.

This does not mean to stop disagreeing or intellectually pursuing what is good and right and it is very important to make sure those we have discussions with do not feel attacked.

There is an additional problem. 

You and I both know that we often take possession of our ideas as if they were our identity and if peoples ideas and verbalized thoughts are always experienced at the level of ones identity then any debate will become perceived as fighting or arguing and when this pattern of communication erupts it is important to separate the idea from the person. 

This does not stop discussion and debates from becoming arguments and fights yet it does add clarity to the conversation.

The Magical Question 

If you are discussing something with someone and they perceive you as argumentative I suggest you ask the person... 

"How can I present counter examples and other points of view to you so that you are not offended and your feelings are not hurt?" 

I thought of this wonderful question many times when it was simply too late to ask.

If you experience numerous people saying things like... 

"You just love to argue don't you?" 

"Why do you always argue with me." 

"I do not want to fight with you." 

Then regardless of whether you are fighting with people or not you need to reconsider your approach to communication so you are perceived as less abrasive.

Many times people who are intellectuals whether they are intellectual snobs or not are considered argumentative simply because they have such a broad or deep knowledge about something that they are constantly the individual with superior knowledge about a subject.

This can lead others to feeling inferior and in these situations it can be useful for the person perceived as superior and therefore the one who often puts others on edge or on the defensive to reduce the number of verbalizations in a communication and tighten up their communication style

Make long speeches shorter and ask more questions and have fewer total words spoken in dialogue.

Remember... where one person seems to know everything the other person is not necessary or at least that is how they feel.

Most brilliant people got that way because they were incredibly inquisitive and this too can become a problem and asking questions of others is a great way to learn about how others feel... think and believe and know it or not there are lines that can be crossed here as well!

I have found myself asking questions when I used to argue like it was a hobby and such questions that were sharp and cutting and critical by implication.

I stopped that habit and even ceasing intentional criticism or contempt is not always enough for how others FEEL about you or what they PERCEIVE you are TRYING TO SAY with your questions.

There are other problems that come from great inquisitors... notice how that word it may not be a word by the way is like the word inquisition? 

Yes... me too because lots of people can FEEL like your questions are not questions and an interrogation whether you intend that or not... sometimes you are just trying to figure out the person or their thinking process and all of a sudden you are called a cop or police officer or something similar.

People process their thoughts through their feelings and you can ask someone what they are thinking and they will say... 

"I do not know." 


"Not much." 

"Nothing important." 

And so on as these people are not planning major life events in their mind they are simply in the moment in their feelings and because they process information differently from verbalizing thinkers and they often feel inadequate in a relationship or are pegged as poor communicators

In fact they may not be good communicators and they can improve their communication skills if others do not put an enormous amount of pressure on them.

If you are a person who takes time to process external information and you do not communicate well about information you have just received... a good strategy to appear more competent is to say things like... 

"I need to consider what you have said and to ponder it." 

"Let me think about what you have said and I would like to talk with you tomorrow about it when I have taken the time it deserves." 

"My initial reaction is positive and I would like to take some more time to consider it."

What this does is allow the two parties to know that there is no problem with what was communicated by the verbalizing party and that they are indeed considering the information and not ignoring it as verbalizes often feel others are doing to them.

Non verbalizes the people who use few words in the course of a day or a conversation often become angry when they are asked to express more than they already have said... this leads them to argue from their feeling base... 

"Why do you always make me feel bad?" 

"You are mean." 

"You do not respect my feelings." 

They might raise their voice and repeat the same sets of feelings or thoughts over and over and they are now arguing.

Instead the nonverbalizer can share information like this... 

"I am starting to get upset and it is because I am not able to put my feelings into words yet... I am not upset with you and I do not want to be so let me ponder this and let us talk again tomorrow about it."

Meanwhile the verbalizing people who share lots of information in communication get upset and angry when others do not respond in like kind... someone who communicates 50 out of 60 minutes will feel the other person is holding back or covering up or those they just do not care... these things upset the verbalizer and once upset as with all communication about to go wrong... emotions will get the best of the verbalizer and communication will deteriorate rapidly... because the verbalizer is able to deliver words in large volume and speed the verbalizer also is more likely to be deemed argumentative when he or she gets upset... their voice will raise and become angry.

The verbalizre needs to share their feelings now. 

"I am starting to become angry because I feel as if you are not sharing with me what I am asking you for... am I reading you right?" 

It is very important that the nonverbalizer does not take this communication as blaming because the nonverbalizer is by definition someone who does not communicate as much and certainly not as quickly as a verbalizer.

What can you do if you are dealing with an argumentative communicator?

Tell the person you do not enjoy arguing and that you will discuss options and ideas.

Tell the person you respect their point of view and you disagree.

If necessary tell the person that this subject is something you do not like to continue discussing because it is personal or volatile... this is okay for business of course and not going to do the trick in long term relationships.

Speak your point of view clearly and what it would take for you to re evaluate your point of view... ask the person is being right more important than your feelings?" 

In other words what is at stake? 


Life or Death? 

Some long term issue? 

Or is it about whether you squeeze the toothpaste from the middle or end?

Suggest the person frame their comments in a more gentle fashion... 

"I know you are not saying that to attack me... it just hurts when you say it that way."

"Instead of yelling allow yourself to speak calmly and then I will be able to listen to you better."

"If you stop calling me names when we talk I would be a lot less defensive... deal?"

What can you do if you are an argumentative communicator?

Ask more questions and LISTEN to what is being shared with you!

Be interested in how the other people in your life came to believe and think what they think.

Be aware that not everyone perceives discussion... debate... arguing and fighting in the same way and find out what those important to you believe about each of these things.

Ask the important people in your life specifically how you can communicate with them to help them know you do not want to argue and to discuss.

Determine why you need to be right or make someone else wrong in heated communications.

Always think of your intention... if your intention is gentle speak more quietly as people associate quieter tones with gentler intentions.

Show people you care in ways other than verbally so they know you care when you do argue.

If you find yourself getting into a heated discussion ask the other person if they feel you are arguing or discussing... ask what the difference would be for them.

Ask your friend... association... partner how you can communicate without giving the appearance of arguing.

Be certain that you make clear your intention so it is not misunderstood!

Mind Your Thoughts 

Life can fill your mind with emotional clutter...

"When will my boss decide on the promotion?"

"Did I remember to change over the laundry?"

"How can I finish my presentation and still see my friends this weekend?"

If you head to a first meet up with some one new thinking about these day to day concerns it is less likely to go well you will seem distracted... stressed... less optimistic and less adventurous and argumentitive!

Obviously this is not what anyone wants on a meet up... you want to be relaxed... playful... confident and self assured and focused.

How do you get yourself into that mind space?

Well some people suggest you should find something that helps you shift gears.

Take a bath... go for a walk... change your outfit... listen to music and in my opinion there is one very simple technique that works best.

Take out a piece of paper and empty your thoughts and write down all the stuff you need to remember to do later and if you use a software based system for reminders... transfer that list there.

Here is the key... 

Writing something down declutters your thoughts... when you get it down on paper you trust that you have a reminder to think about it again later and that allows you to let it go... it frees up your mind.

The effect is much more powerful than most people realize and before your next meet up make sure you invest the time to do it.

And if you like it make it a regular 2 minute routine before every meet up.

You will feel a lot better and be more relaxed when you meet up with that person.

Have you any thoughts or comments you would like to share with me on what I have written?

I would love to hear from you.

Thank you and may you enjoy a Loving... Prosperous and Dynamic day!

Yours Sincerely

Dynamic Lifer... The Tribe of Dynamic Lifers

1... A person with a penchant for Science... creativity... books... writing... communication... fitness... women... sexing... sexuality... human relationships... psychology... physiology and any other area involving heavy use of the Intellect.

2... A bright person and glamorously Intelligent!

3... Ange is an Author... Speaker and Dynamic Peak Performance Personal Development Consultant... and Humanistic Counselling Psychologist... Sexologist and Multipreneur... who works with those men and women who desire to personally develop themselves and their relationship to become Dynamic Lifers... creators of their own life... relationships and wealth! 

4... If you are Happy and you Know it... you are becoming a Dynamic Lifer!

To Speak to Ange and arrange a consultation for what you would like help with CLICK HERE

"Transformation Happens when people fall in love with a different version of themselves and their future!"

Join us today and become one of The Tribe... a DYNAMIC Lifer and if you want to share with a friend a writing... please go ahead and let them know they can receive their own writings via e mail by directly joining The Tribe of Dynamic Lifers...I am sure they will appreciate your consideration of them.