The best method of winning an argument I know of (apart from starting a small fire in the middle of room and beginning to masturbate furiously) comes from my Scouser mate Joe.

He usually does this when drunk, and while eating (for reasons which will soon become obvious).

Somehow, he gets himself into an insanely complex argument involving impossibly deep issues. Just as the other person delivers what they think is the killer blow, Joe pauses, looks them in the eye, then slowly and deliberately picks up his food and squashes it into his own face.

He then just sits there, arms folded, food dripping slowly from his face, calmly looking at the other person.

How can you follow that? Argument won.

The easiest way to win an argument is of course to be right, well done, full points to TheLady for that one. But it must be said that in real life, one would never rationally into an argument if one believed that they were wrong would they? Unless they have some evil agenda, but that is for the conspiracy nodes. In lieu of being able to prove that you are right there are certain ways of winning the argument, or at least converting your almost certain defeat into a draw.

1. Modulate your voice to fall out of sync with theirs.
Most people shout when others shout, whisper when others whisper, and try to match the other person's voice patterns to 'get on their level'. This rarely works in arguments, and they end up being shouting matches. So by making random changes to pitch, speed, cadence, and tone, one will find the other person begins to falter.

2. Look away, and be silent for a while in the middle of one of their tirades, and look back when you know they are about to finish, and when they stop to hear your response, say something like: "I wish things were different, I don't want to argue with you, I (like/love/adore/admire/hate) you, but if we have to talk this through can we wait a while so that both of us are calmer and more our usual selves. I need time to think hard about some of what you've said anyway."

3. Note the language,
if it is closed and non-varying, a good bet is that they are locked into one emotional level, and a way to win is simply to hug them. The flush of positive emotion this causes will destabilise them so look out for hits or pushes, but in the silence and their confusion you can deliver a new point assured that they will hear you.

4. Complement them in the middle of everything on something you know is important to them.
When they try to get back to the argument, tell them they don't talk about themselves enough, and that perhaps if you understood them better you would agree more with what they said. This one is pure genius and works 99% of the time.

5. If all else fails say this : "I refuse to have a battle of wits with someone who is unarmed. Goodbye."
Then walk away in triumph.

6. If even that fails and it is your girlfriend and the two of your are argued to near exhaustion, kiss her. Its probably what she wants right now.

Else run.

Depends on your definition of winning, really.

If all you want is to hear the other person say, "yeah, fair enough, you win", then either
(a)Your opponent is spineless and is letting you win, or
(b)You weren't having an argument, you were clearing up a factual error

The fact is that the majority of never arguments are never truly won or lost, because most of them never really end. People get tired, bored or it descends into a fistfight. Really "winning" an argument involves having a couple of things happen:

  • Getting your point across

    The hardest thing to do in an argument (which is what turns a conversation into an argument). Getting somebody to genuinely see your point, even if they disagree wholeheartedly, is probably the greatest victory you can score in an argument.

  • Exploring your own ideas

    It's perfectly possible to end up vigorously defending a point of view, only to suddenly realise that actually you'd never really thought about it before. This is often the whole point of arguing something. It's kind of like natural selection for ideas - the bad ones get crushed pretty quickly, while the good ones grow stronger and stronger every time you're forced to defend them.

  • Learning

    Unless your name is actually Jesus H. Christ, chances are that you don't know everything. A good argument should at some stage involve uttering the words "Well, I've never really thought about that before...". Regardless of the subject matter, both parties should have gained knowledge by the end.

It's much easier to lose an argument than to win one. Trust me, I know, I lose arguments on a very regular basis. If any of these things happen, then you're not doing much more than exercising your vocal chords. Give up and watch TV or something.

  • Not listening

    The failing of 99.9% of arguments (it's ususally caused bny allowing me to participate). The line between debate and lecturing is a fine one, and many people see other people's opinions as rude interruptions. In the heat of the moment, it's really easy to ignore the other person. Try not to, or you've genuinely lost.

  • Pretending to listen

    Same as the first problem, but in disguise. This is where you occasionally stop and let the other person talk for a while, occasionally nodding to imply that you're listening. But of course what you're thinking is "I will cut in in 10...9...8".

  • Forgetting the question

    It's really hard to complete an argument about early Egyptian agricultural if it morphs into a debate about whether N'Sync could beat up Backstreet Boys. Pick a topic stick to it. If somebody strays off it, bitchslap them, even if that person is you. Especially if that person is you.

  • Non sequiturs

    Consider the relevance of what you're about to say. Consider the context that it's going to be taken in. Your story about Aunt Mable's holiday in Greece may be relevant in a conversation about the sexuality of older women, but not in an argument about breakfast cereal.

  • Don't get personal

    Trust me on this one. It's never worth it no matter how good you feel your point is.

While this is geared more towards factual debates, most of it still holds true for your average boyfriend/girlfriend who-left-the-lid-off-the-marmalade stuff. Or perhaps I'm completely wrong.

I'm not going to argue with you about it.

Of course, if you just want to end the argument, simply yell "NAZIS". Any argument is over as soon as someone uses the word Nazi.

The following list applies only if you're in desperate situtation and nothing but the win matters.

Get drunk
You will have strong views about the issues, even the ones you don't know nothing about. In the worst scenario at least you think yourself that you outwitted others lefthanded.

Make things up
Use exact figures shaked off from the sleeve. Invent your references also on the fly. It's very impressing to have more figures than Al Gore: "No, I don't think so. According to National Social Security Study addressed to Congress April 24th 1996 dr. CJ Willeford proves that during the period of 1992-1994 there were only 230 450 cases of welfare frauds resulting the loss of $1 043 500 for the federal state."

Apply heavy usage of Latin and intellectual words
Poor: "Things are bad."
Better: "The formative mechanism of culture amounts to a reification of human activities which fixates the living and models the transmission of experience from one generation to another on the transmission of commodities; a reification which strives to ensure the past's domination over the future."

Play nazi card
Compare your opponent to Hitler: "That's something Hitler would have said."

Use personal insults
If you have absolutely run out of arguments grap for the shortest straw:
- No, I don't think so. According to National Social Security Study addressed to Congress April 24th 1996 dr. CJ Willeford proves that during the period of 1992-1994 there were only 230 450 cases of welfare frauds resulting the loss of $1 043 500 for the federal state.
- But I have three new studies here in my bag that show very different figures, look.
- Yes, but have you noticed how ridicilously big nose you have?

Pretend to be stupid
This tactic should be consider if the outcome of your argument has some real, maybe important consequences. Just repeat and repeat your point and refuse to understand or listen what your opponent has to say. When the tactic is carried out wilfully the argument can be won through opponent's exhaustion.

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