“Sparring is a form of training common to many combat sports. Although the precise form varies, it is essentially relatively ‘free-form’ fighting, with enough rules, customs, or agreements to make injuries unlikely. By extension, argumentative debate is sometimes called ‘verbal sparring’.“
I start with the definition from Wikipedia because I checked it to make sure the definition hadn’t changed and left me in the past (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sparring
). So, if sparring and argumentative debate still includes “enough rules, customs or agreements to make injuries unlikely,” then what I see on Facebook and arguments with people who value their opinion over mine isn’t really sparring. The gloves are off and the only rule is to win by making me wrong or changing my mind.
Effective Argument is beneficial for all when viewed as sparring, not war
Arguing your opinion is good. It is good for you because it can solidify your position or reveal weaknesses in the facts you have used to make your conclusions. It can also help the other person in much the same manner. It seldom causes an immediate change in one’s position, but it can. To be effective, though, argument must be seen as sparring, not war.
In teaching argument years ago to college students on the campus of the University of Southern Indiana, I learned that I did not often argue well. I also noticed that I was in the majority. What I learned and hoped to pass on to the students was that often my opinions were based on mostly circumstantial evidence and not always on proven fact. I found, too, that we often argue to convince ourselves or to avoid admitting that we might have been wrong for a long time. When that occurs, often subconsciously or unconsciously, the argument turns into a battle or a fight. We stop sparring for training purposes and fight to keep from getting hurt. To keep from getting hurt, we often have to hurt the other. That’s when argument is least effective.
Listening or trying to understand the other person and how they arrived at their conclusions is an important component to effective argument.
The ineffective argument generally stems from someone doing more talking and very little or no listening. Listening or trying to understand the other person and how they arrived at their conclusions is an important component to effective argument. Understanding the other person and the facts behind their conclusions can help you establish some common ground. Finding the common ground can lead to all parties benefit. If compromise is possible, it can lead to compromise. When compromise is not beneficial and it is sometimes not beneficial, establishing common ground can change another’s opinion or at least provide them with unknown facts to consider moving forward. Even if it doesn’t accomplish a change in one or the other’s opinion or a compromise, it seldom leads to injury.
Arguing your opinion coupled with listening help assess your own opinions
Another obstacle to effective argument is that too often our opinions are formed by very little thought or consideration. We have based our opinions from propaganda, from the opinions of significant others or the strength in numbers provided by being surrounded by like-minded people. We haven’t really heard the facts of those different than ourselves and weighed them with those that helped us form our opinions. Good argument with others gives us the facts behind their assessment and we can weigh them against our own and weigh their facts against reality. This usually strengthens your own stand, because now you have more facts on which to base it. You might even help the other by pointing out apparent weaknesses in their facts.
Toughest when it’s loved ones
When you know through experience, often trial and error, that your opinion is true and to follow some other course is harmful and will lead to injury, and the other person(s) in the argument are loved ones, it can lead to heartbreak. There are no guarantees that even arguing effectively will change the other’s opinion. It is difficult to watch them get hurt. Maybe you were hurt doing what they plan to do and that is why you formed the opinion you formed. Remember, you argued to help them, so don’t let your argument inflict pain. Show respect and don’t make the other person feel disrespected. It is real important to find that common ground by listening to what made them “know” they’re right and you are wrong. Also, remember that you don’t control their reactions and you cannot make them listen and heed. Finally, especially when family is involved, continue to love them through the mistake. They will need you on the other side if they survive. This is, of course, my opinion.
Effective verbal sparring is more beneficial
Make sure your opinions are based on solid evidence by continually assessing them. Listen when arguing with another. Argue to help, not hurt. This will not mean you will “win” every argument, but you can win from an effective argument. You not only can strengthen your opinion, grow as a person, but you will provide facts to another and begin to understand others better through effective verbal sparring.
Categories: Arguing Life Speaking truth
I write about what I'm thinking or what I've imagined in an effort to regain that childhood imagination and marry with my many years of real experiences. I'm getting better at it the more I write.I am a published author of two romantic intrigue novels.My books can be found at Amazon.com or if you want a personalized copy, by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.