Blank arguments only lead to undesired realms of confrontation and verbal sparring.

Why You Should Recognize and Retreat From Blank Arguments

A common practice of people who do not like you, for whatever reason, is to have a tendency to disagree with anything you say if they can manage to. When you have lost reputation in the mind of another, they will send blank arguments your way. They will disagree with what you say not because of the merits that your words hold, but because of the source they stem from (you). It is still important to remember that some of the arguments those who don’t like you voice will be valid, and include points which are propelled by truth. Other arguments however, those which this article aims to shed light on, will be blank, without real truths behind them and will only exist because the person does not like you.


Do Not Engage


These arguments are hard to counter, as both yourself as well as the person who doesn’t like you understand their points to be of secondary importance to the malicious intentions behind them. People who do not like you will want to be argumentative and therefore combative. Blank arguments can never be won, as the points backing them are seldom valid. Should you attempt to argue points which hold no obvious validity, your mere attempts can be construed as providing them validity. When both parties understand the lack of validity behind the points raised by one’s opponent, a likely goal for the birth of an argument is to lead toward confrontation.

A common example of blank arguments is when your behavior was previously okay by someone else’s standards, and now is not. For instance, if you’ve always washed your plate while your roommate was still eating, their emotional response to you doing so today would not make much sense. Why did they sit through your act of washing dishes for the months prior, but decided to voice their displeasure with the noise you make today? Perhaps, they got to know you better, or perhaps they’re more confident in voicing their displeasure. However, without knowing the reasons for their complaint, you should be wary of engaging their semi-valid points. 

If others’ concerns hold any sort of validity, agree with it and understand it. Ignore other blank aspects of people’s arguments, such as the fact that they’re inconsistent with their complaints. Ignore any emotional attacks tagged onto semi-valid arguments that you hear, and ignore any forms of verbal malice aimed toward you. An emotional and malicious challenge is akin to a kamikaze plot, in that your opponent is trying to pull both of you into an emotional or physical altercation.


Recognizing When Blank Arguments Come Your Way


You should recognize blank arguments which, even though have few/no valid points behind them, your opponent insists to keep alive. If you believe your opponent knows that the validity of their points does not stand up to yours, then you must retreat from the argument and accept the loss if you need to. Continuing to counter your opponent’s blank arguments will lead to roads which you  should not want to travel, especially when you find yourself in a professional environment. You must redefine the victory of an argument to getting out of it with your reputation unscathed rather than your points winning against the arguments of your opponent. When your opponent is out for blood, there is no winning arguments in the traditional sense, there is only exiting the argument without escalating the situation.

Blank arguments are relatively easy to recognize. Arguments with your significant other are often blank arguments as at least one, if not both, parties have emotional and unreasonable reasons for propagating the argument forward. These arguments end in fights, and therefore return negative results, in which both parties need to make up and apologize to each other soon-after. These arguments are blank arguments with no valid points behind them, therefore you should let go of your willingness to win these arguments and retreat before a fight breaks out. An altercation is a probable result of continuing to engage in a blank argument without retreating. Recognize a blank argument, and retreat from it at once in order to save yourself from uncontrollable altercations. 

For example:

If you’ve lived in a city, you know there can be some characters among the homeless population. You can be walking down the street with a loved one and find yourself being argued at by a homeless person for no apparent reason. They’ll call you names, curse your loved one, and wish death to everything good in your life. Would you reciprocate?

The above is the extreme version of a blank argument; the rest fall somewhere between a totally logical, reasonable, calm argument, and what’s above. Most of the blank arguments that come your way will have an ounce of logic to them – they won’t all be homeless people hating you for no reason.

To limit being seen as a pushover, attack the logical points and ignore any statements which are serving to coerce you into a confrontation. Acknowledge points which ring true, address them the best way you can, and be the antiseptic of confrontation. Should the points all become confrontational, like the homeless person yelling, we would advise retreating almost every time.

Book recommendation:

Living Beyond Your Feelings: Controlling Emotions So They Don’t Control You

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