Inoffensive Arguing

I think all of us here know the “rule” about using “I-statements” in arguments and discussions, rather than “you-statements.”

“I feel…” instead of “You’re *wrong*

I knew a guy in college that I once out-argued and he sputtered for a moment before collecting himself and sagely observing, “Well, you are un-wrong in that instance.”

I realized today that there are those for whom refraining from saying You’re wrong is not enough.  These people feel it’s part of the same, basic politeness for me to acknowledge their side has an equal legitimacy; an equal chance of being correct.

And if I’m being *really* polite I might hint the other person’s idea has the tiniest bit of upper hand because I’m less-open minded and perhaps might not notice if I were wrong.

Anyway, there are probably topics where this kind of exchange would be possible.  The problem is, I don’t think it would occur to me to discuss them, because I wouldn’t see them having a lot of significance.

There are things I will “go to the wall” on.  And while I won’t usually say that exact phrase without being asked, I am not going to pretend anything contradictory is of equal importance.  Even to be polite.

One thought on “Inoffensive Arguing

  1. I think the difference here is validating that the other person feels the way they do, and that they have a right to their feelings, not necessarily telling someone that they might be right in situations where there is a certain right and wrong. There are definitely ways to say, “I hear what you are saying. I understand and accept that you feel this way. But I still think I’m right.”

    But I agree, there is no point in conceding that I “might” be wrong when I’m not wrong. The hard part, at least for me, is separating the person from the opinion.

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