Why You Can Never Win An Argument
I was attending a banquet one night given in honor of Sir Ross and during the dinner, the man sitting next to me told a funny story that hinged on the saying "there is divinity that helps shape our lives, rough hew them how he will"
the man mentioned that the quotation was from the bible, he was wrong i knew that, i knew that positively there was no doubt about it and so to get a feeling of importance and display my superiority i appointed myself as an unwelcome committee of one to correct him. he stuck to his guns, he disagreed with me that the quotation was from Shakespeare and he was sure very sure.
sitting with us was a friend of mine who had devoted years to the study of Shakespeare, so the story teller and i decided to submit the question to my friend, my friend Mr Garramond, listened then kicked me under the table and then said "Dale you are wrong, the gentleman is right, its from the bible"
on our way home that night i said to my friend "Frank you knew that quotation was from Shakespeare", yes of course he replied "Hamlet, act V Scene 2" but we were guests at a festive occasion, why prove to a man that he is wrong? is that going to make him like you/ why not let him save his face, he didn't ask for your opinion, he didn't want it, why argue with him, "always avoid the acute angle"
"Always avoid the acute angle", it was a sorely needed lesson because I'd been an inveterate arguer. During my youth i argued with my brother about everything under the milky way. when i went to college i studied logic and argumentation and went in for debating contests, i have over the years engaged in and watched the effects of over a thousands of arguments, as a result of it all i have come to one conclusion that there is only way to get the best of an argument and that is to avoid it, yes avoid it as you would rattlesnakes and earthquakes.
Nine times out of ten an argument ends with each of the contestants being more firmly convinced than ever before that he is absolutely right.
you cant win an argument because if you lose you lose it and if you win it you lose it, why?
suppose you triumph over the other man and shoot his argument full of holes an d prove that he is wrong. then what? you will feel fine, then what about him? you have made him feel inferior, you have hurt his pride, he will resent your triumph.
if you argue and rankle and contradict, you may achieve a few victory sometimes, but it will be an empty victory because you will never get your opponents good will
so figure it out, which would you rather have: an academic theatrical victory over a man or man's goodwill? you can seldom have both.
you maybe right, dead right as you speed along in your argument, but as far as changing the other man's mind is concerned, you will probably just be as futile as if you were wrong.
I do hope you don't want to argue with me on this matter? now you know better, share with your friends whom you know love to argue to high heavens perhaps they might have a change of heart this year