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Agree to Disagree: Learning to Walk Away from an Argument


January 17, 2022

It's only natural to disagree with others. After all, we are all different people with different likes, dislikes, and opinions. The problem comes when the conflict is not resolved and instead just becomes a battle of wills.

Why is Walking Away So Hard?

Walking away from an argument is such a hard thing to do for so many reasons. Sometimes it's because of a need to win. Other times it's because you need to work on maturing to the point where you can actually walk away from the argument and not turn around and yell back. Often, this maturity grows as you do.

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Reasons To Walk Away

1. When The Only Point of The Argument Is To Prove You're Right

Sometimes an argument starts because a topic needs to be addressed. It's easy, however, to become focused on making sure that you've heard and that you are in the right.

This is something that's hard for me because I feel like "if they just listened to me, we wouldn't have this problem." Of course, that's not true. Usually, the other person is feeling the exact same way you are.

2. The Person Isn't Going To Listen

Some people really just don't care enough to listen to what other people have to say. At that point, continuing will only further damage your relationship.

If you have someone who is consistently unwilling to hear you, ask yourself why? Does your approach to the situation need work? Are you going in full armor ready to fight?

Are they a victim of past verbal abuse, making it hard to hear you? Are they a toxic person?

Think about it for a while, before you attempt to talk to them again, and adjust your communication accordingly.

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3. It Isn't Really A Big Deal

Sometimes it's little things that don't really matter that are the most irritating. It can be so easy to get stuck on our pet peeves and let them take control of the situation. Later, if it is something that really bothers you, go to that person and calmly discuss how what happened hurt you.

4. Arguing Won't Solve The Problem

Some things can't be solved by bickering. Instead, you might have to put aside your differences for a little while and work together. Sometimes you're going to have to compromise instead of getting your own way.

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How To Walk Away From An Argument:

1. Assess the situation

Is this something that will matter later on, or can it just be left alone? Will it still bother you later?

Does this person have the maturity to actually listen to you and respond in an appropriate manner?

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2. Look At The Situation From The Other Person's Perspective

It might be difficult to do at first, but put yourself in the other person's shoes. What does the situation look like from their perspective?

Often, the other person is just as frustrated as you are, and because you're both frustrated, you're attacking each other instead of working to solve the issue.

3. Discuss

Say "I don't feel like we are getting anywhere by sitting here, arguing. I would like us to take some time to calm down and we can maybe discuss this later when we are both in a better frame of mind."

If the other person refuses, let them know that you would like to hear what they have to say, but not when they are yelling at you. If they still won't listen, get a witness. Tell the witness the situation and have the witness go back to the person you were arguing with. Tell them again that you think you should take a break.

Make a time to come back and discuss what happened so that you both know when you'll be sitting down to talk.

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4. Calm Down

Take some time to calm down and reflect back on what happened. What was your part in the argument? Did you do anything you need to apologize for? If so, when things have calmed down, ask to talk to the person and apologize.

If you're having trouble calming yourself down, try doing a breathing exercise, or listening to some calming music.

Sometimes it will take a while before you and the other person are able to sit down and talk about what happened. You may only need a few minutes, other times it might be several days before you're ready to talk.

Examples Of When to Walk Away:

Fighting Online

Arguing with someone online is completely different than if you were face to face. Often, we don't know the people online and we can't see them, so it's easier to say things; polite or not.

This emboldens people on social media to say whatever comes to mind. This can lead to fights online breaking out over the most ridiculous things.

For example, I am in a book club group on Facebook, and while it's fun for the most part, sometimes things get taken a little too seriously. People will get mad and go on a tangent if someone doesn't like a book they loved. They will often say hurtful things over a simple difference of opinion.

Because you don't know the people online and you don't walk life with them, you do not have to sit there and argue with them. Instead, just let it go.

Arguing With Toxic People

Some arguments can't be solved, not because of the nature of the argument, but because the other person involved is toxic. Arguing with a toxic person is different from arguing with a normal person. Toxic people are often manipulative and will do everything in their power to hurt you.

If you find yourself going toe to toe with a toxic person, you have to realize there is no way to win the argument, it's just not going to happen. Instead, just say I'm not going to argue with you and walk away.

If you want to learn more about toxic people and behaviors, you can read this article.

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In an argument, you have to remember that you can't always win or fix an issue with a few sentences. Instead, realize that walking away from an argument, even for a short amount of time, can help you and the other person calm down so you can have a fruitful discussion.

Cassandra Stinger
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Writer since Jun, 2020 · 31 published articles

Cassandra Stinger is a journalist, aspiring author, and preschool teacher from central Kansas. When she's not writing or working, she can be found reading, cooking, or pursuing photography.