So I am in the very stressful, annoying process of moving. My garage is filled with boxes and crates aplenty, my room stripped down to nothing but my mattress, and my mind is bursting at the seams with all that I still have to get done. My dad, being the charitable, hard-working man that he is, has taken it upon himself to help me move more easily and efficiently. However, nothing about this move has been easy or efficient so far.

If there is one trait that runs in my family, it is stubbornness. My dad and I both like to do things our way. I always think that I have the better idea; he always thinks his approach is best. This has certainly posed a problem to the whole moving process. And it has, without a doubt, caused at least 50 arguments in the last week. Thankfully by the end of each day, we can laugh at our pointless bickering. But, I’m determined to beat the champion of disputes at his own game by taking a few notes from his book. Here are 5 ways to undoubtedly win an argument:

1) Know your facts. (can’t win a fight if you’re inevitably wrong)

It’s pretty impossible to actually win a fight if you’re inevitably wrong: you really need to know the facts. However, people actually tend to forget the facts behind their claims and conclusions, due to the fact that our minds prioritize storing feelings and conclusions over the facts that support them. This explains why you may find yourself speechless or frustrated during a fight with your friend when you know you’re right but you just can’t articulate the reasoning behind it. Therefore, it can’t hurt to brush up on some facts and prepare for the conversation beforehand. My dad definitely always knows what he’s talking about and has years on years of experience I just don’t have.

2) Be (or at least appear) open-minded.

Open your mind to the other person’s opinion or argument. This is my dad and I’s demise and the real drive behind our heated disagreements. So I’ve decided to take the time to really hear him out, going into today’s packing and moving adventures. I’ll challenge my perspective and give his a chance. But if I still find it hard to understand his take on the given situation, I’ll at least appear to be open-minded. That way, he’ll feel inclined to do the same for me. And instead of tearing one another’s ideas to shreds, we’ll both get a chance to explain our outlook. This will also prevent someone from summing the other up as not understanding or even considering their argument.

3) Control your emotions.

I will admit, this is my ultimate downfall when it comes to arguing with my dad. There’s something about being told what to do during what I call my age of independence. So naturally, I get angry when he tries to take control, even over the best way to roll up my rug or transport my dresser to my new place. Moving forward, I plan on better controlling my emotions. I’ll suppress my anger and my annoyance instead of allowing them to guide my behavior and make the argument catastrophically worse.

4) Be respectful.

Being respectful goes hand-in-hand with controlling your emotions. You may get angry or annoyed (such as I do) but you should still maintain a level of respect for your opponent. Don’t allow that anger or annoyance to manifest into contempt or otherwise negative actions. For one, it’s just not worth it. We should always respect one another, despite our difference in opinions. A lack of it can result in damaged relationships and even physical fights. So consider these outcomes and act accordingly.

5) Make it a discussion.

This is probably the best piece of advice I can give myself: make it a discussion rather than an argument. My dad and I will typically just tackle a mission without discussing a plan first. An argument ensues because we both start approaching it the way we see fit. I’m going to start suggesting we come up with a plan ahead of time or discuss a quick plan first, so that we’re on the same page from the get-go. The only real way to win an argument, after all, is to combat its very occurrence and effects.

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Taylor Bennett

Taylor Bennett

Taylor Bennett is the Content Development Manager at Thriveworks. She devotes herself to distributing important information about mental health and wellbeing, writing mental health news and self-improvement tips daily. Taylor received her bachelor’s degree in multimedia journalism, with minors in professional writing and leadership from Virginia Tech. She is a co-author of Leaving Depression Behind: An Interactive, Choose Your Path Book and has published content on Thought Catalog, Odyssey, and The Traveling Parent.

Check out “Leaving Depression Behind: An Interactive, Choose Your Path Book” written by AJ Centore and Taylor Bennett."

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