- Don't argue.It can seem difficult to avoid being drawn into a debate. When faced with a very argumentative person, it is important to remind yourself that your antagonist does not likely want to hear your opinion.Nothing you say will be convincing enough to settle the argument, and an argumentative person will likely not admit it even if they are wrong. Save yourself a headache and just say you're not going to debate the topic.
- Avoid hot topics.When talking to an argumentative person, it's best to keep the conversation as trivial as possible. If a topic comes up that often causes disagreements or that many people debate, like gun control or abortion, say that you do not want to talk about it or that topic doesn't interest you.
- Change the subject. If you sense an argument coming, instead of disagreeing try to steer the conversation in a different direction.
- Stay calm. Don't let yourself get riled up. Letting an argumentative person see that the argument is getting your emotions going will likely give him the sense of victory or superiority he secretly craves and urge him to keep arguing. If you appear to be unaffected by the disagreement, the other person will feel unsatisfied with the results. Eventually he may even give up arguing with you and seek out a more excitable target.
- Keep your voice quiet. When one person raises their voice, the other feels compelled to be louder. Speaking quietly may even make you seem wiser, which will annoy your opponent.
- Look bored.Check your watch or the messages on your phone. Let him know you have more important things to do and excuse yourself. Disputes give argumentative people a sense of superiority. By displaying your lack of interest in discussing the topic you will seem superior yourself.
- Agree without agreeing.Say something like, "You're probably right, but I like my way." Once you have done this there is nothing left to argue about. You can also nod your head without agreeing. Let him state his opinion and then move the conversation onward as though an agreement was made.
- Make noises of agreement without agreeing.This helps to slow down his statements and keep the conversation low-key.
Making Annoying Arguments
- Tell him he is wrong.Don't back this up with any facts that can be debated. Just tell him he is wrong and refuse to provide any further explanation. Nothing will anger an argumentative person more than hearing they are wrong, especially if they are right.
- Demand proof.Even if the other person's argument seems to be valid, demand proof for any claims that they make. Refuse to debate the issue further until he proves his claim to you. Try to create as much legwork as possible for your antagonist. Make it too exhausting and time consuming to continue to have an argument with you.
- Point out bad grammar.If your opponent happens to use words incorrectly while arguing, be sure to stop him and point it out. This will not only disrupt his momentum while speaking, but make him feel intellectually inferior as well.
- Patronize him.Be as condescending as possible to make yourself seem superior. For example, you can offer to use smaller words so he can understand you better.
- Roll your eyes. Look up and to one side and slowly move your eyes until you see the opposite side of the room. It helps to shake your head slightly while rolling the eyes. This expression will show that you find your opponent ridiculous and stupid.
- Cite ridiculous, irrelevant sources.Cite movies, television shows, or other completely unrelated figures as authoritative voices.Quoting song lyrics also works great. This method is very difficult to combat as he will first have to figure out whether you are serious or not before he can come up with a response.
- For example, if someone is trying to start an argument of American foreign policy, a possible response could be, "Well, as Billy Joel said, 'We didn't start the fire.'"
- Point out pettiness.If the argument is over something that is not important, be sure to point out that your antagonist is blowing it out of proportion due to their mean nature. Argumentative people like to act as though every argument is important because it is really just about being right. If you show your opponent how their arguing can be viewed as a fault in their character, it may make them more reluctant to engage you further.
- Make it personal.Forget whatever topic the argument might be about and focus on becoming insulting and rude.For example, if you begin to lose a debate about poverty you could say, "You should spend less time worrying about poverty and more time figuring out a new hair style." This kind of attack does nothing for winning the actual argument, but hurling insults can often quiet down and humiliate aggressive opponent. Of course, it could also end up turning into a physical fight, so watch out.
Controlling Your Emotions
- Stay calm.Argumentative people will often argue out of a desire to see an emotional response from their opponent. Don't show if the interaction is making you upset or angry.
- Smile. Show your antagonist you aren't going to let an argument bring you down. Sometimes that's all an angry, argumentative person is looking to do.
- Ask questions.Instead of trying to convince an argumentative person to see things your way, ask them questions to explain their viewpoint. Often this can help you get to root of the argument.For example you can ask "What is your reasoning behind that idea?" Aside from not having to justify your own position to your opponent, you are allowing them an opportunity to vent and feel their voice is heard. Many times this will be enough to calm an argumentative person, even if it doesn't resolve the disagreement.
- Know when to walk away.If you feel a situation is not going to be resolved in a positive manner, just step away from it. You can always pick up the topic again at a later time when you feel it can be discussed in a reasonable manner.
- Don't take on people who are bigger and tougher than you, in case it goes further than you expect.
- Always be sure you don't say anything you will regret later. Choose your words carefully when arguing.
- Dont let them see you getting annoyed. Smile throughout the conversation. This will annoy them, because they'll think they're not annoying you!
- Don't break eye contact. They will think that they are convincing you in some way about their argument. Stay firm and whole hearted in your argument.