5 Ways to (Not) Start an Argument

By Yang Miang

An argument is an unpleasant conversation between two or more persons. Usually each side advocates his or her own opinion and will ignore the points raised by the opposing side(s). 

I think I have gotten into enough trouble with my spouse, family, friends, and colleagues to give some advice on how to start an argument. If you are trying to avoid an argument, you can simply do the opposite of the advice below.         

  1. Focus 100% on what you want to say. An argument picks up pretty easily when the opposing side(s) sense that you are ignoring his or her opinions. Let’s say you are discussing where to go for holiday and you have always wanted to go to Las Vegas, but your spouse wants to go to Beijing. To start an argument, you will keep telling your spouse why Las Vegas is a must-go. You can even spice things up by highlighting the pollution in Beijing and all its downsides. Once your spouse knows that you are very insistent on your own point of view, she or he will typically start to react by highlighting hers or his opinions more strongly. To ensure that the argument spirals, you should escalate it by continuing to reinforce your own points.
  2. Let your negative emotions take the lead. Generally, emotions can be positive (e.g. joy and gratitude) or negative (anger and greed). To help you start an argument, you should let your negative emotions fester and explode. To do that you let the negative thoughts arising from your negative emotions take charge. The most effective emotion in setting off solid no-holds-bar arguments is obviously anger. When a person is angry, his or her behaviours are very aggressive. The aggressiveness will be especially valuable in sparking off and sustaining an argument. So let your internal Hulk take charge!
  3. Keep arguing; don’t stop. Some arguments stop when one of the parties stop arguing. As the wise saying goes, “You can’t play ping pong alone”, so whenever the ball is in your court, you will have to do your part by spurting out some arguments… even if they don’t make sense. Express the negative thoughts that arise in your mind with expressive body language and speeches. Worry about the consequences later.
  4. Make reference to past arguments. Our memories of past arguments serve as good catalyst for a heated argument. You should use phrases like, “Aiyah, you ALWAYS like dat! Never ever listen to me!” This can spark off some defensive arguments with examples trying to prove that you are wrong. You should ignore those examples and use more of your one-sided examples to justify your point. 
  5. Take things personally. Never be objective if you want to start an argument. Whatever happened, it’s about you and nothing else. For e.g., if the others don’t agree with what you are proposing, take it as an attempt to hurt you on purpose. Keep this in mind, “They are out to get me. *sob* I’ll have to defend myself.”

I’m very confident that if you practise the above pointers, you will get into arguments all the time. 

With these heated arguments, you will sooner or later experience consequences like shortage of friends to go out with, difficulties in getting things done, and health problems like heart diseases and mental stress. 

However, if you prefer not to have arguments and its related consequences, you should do the opposite of the above 5 pointers and Be with Buddha constantly.