5 Ways to Win an Argument (That Will Ruin Your Relationship)

#2. Strong-Arming the Conversation

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The Tactic:

Finally, you decide to sit down and hash it out. Mostly because you have an extremely complicated artsy cut you want to give the llama, and you can't convey it without a minimum of four hours worth of explanation. It involves toy trains and a working guillotine. Lorenzo "Curse Tornado Silence Taker" Llamas has had an extremely long time to collect his thoughts and come into the conversation like an adult, so he starts to explain.

But you won't have any of that. You're still pissed off, and he will by God hear your side if you have to write it on a dildo and cram it so far up his ass it scratches his corneas. Your speech has been practiced over and over in your head for a week. All of your points are laid out, and no matter what he tries to retaliate with, you cut him off, saying, "No, you will listen to me. I have a lot to get off of my chest, and you will goddamn well hear it all." Eventually, he gives up, folds his arms, and listens like a scolded child.

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"This is a bunch of poop. A big ol' bunch of butt poop."

Why It Doesn't Work:

This is by far the most common form of bad conflict interaction I've ever seen. It's why I can't watch "talk news" shows where all of the interviewers and interviewees shout over the top of each other, none of their points even remotely being heard by the person they're supposed to be communicating with. It's not a mutual exchange of ideas -- it's a contest to see who can make the other person back down into silence so that they can speak their own points.

At least on a TV show, they can all walk away from each other at the end and never speak again. They're just passing faces thrown together for ratings. But in real life, it can (and often does) damage the relationship. If every time you have a disagreement, the other person verbally muscles you off of the court, you're eventually going to say, "Fuck this. I'll just sign on with a new team. Maybe even in a new sport." Who could blame you? You wanted to play as a cohesive unit, but your partner just wants to shoot free-throws and make you toss the ball back to them. I guess what I'm saying is never date a basketball player.

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They'll just dunk on you and then talk shit.

No, wait, I was talking about conflict. Sorry, I got off track there for a second.

#1. "Do Whatever You Want. I Don't Care."

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The Tactic:

The argument wrapped up, and it only took like eight days. Now you can finally start talking about your llama performance art like an adult. Halfway into your description, Lorenzo "Curse Tornado Silence Taker Scolded Toddler" Llamas interjects, "You can't have a working guillotine. If it malfunctions, it will chop him right in his llama neck and his head will flop right off." You feel the heat of offense build up as you think about the fact that he's your employee, and he's refusing your orders. Another fight is coming on; you can feel it.

Nope. Not this time. You get up from the table and walk away, muttering, "You're going to do what you want to do anyway, so why bother talking about it?" The llama stares at Lorenzo, softly chewing something it found on the floor. Lorenzo shakes his head and contemplates quitting and taking up camel-head decorating.

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Smooooth, baby.

Why It Doesn't Work:

On one hand, this is an avoidance issue. You're just plain finished with the constant bickering and feeling undermined every time you have an idea. On the other, you're indirectly saying, "You are not important enough for me to extend the privilege of discussion. Your thoughts are beneath me."

It's dangerous for both parties, because if this becomes the case, one side typically feels like they never get their concerns addressed, so they are just giving up altogether. The other person is persuasive enough or persistent enough to usually get what they want, so the whole idea of compromise is nonexistent. Those types of people are used to conflicts being more about letting the other person know what's going to happen, rather than coming to an agreement over an issue. Either way, the conflict has no purpose other than just pissing each other off. And you can't be doing that in front of the llama. It's sensitive.

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"Why can't we just all love each other?"

The hard part about dealing with conflict isn't the arguing -- any dipshit can yell at someone and vent their anger. No, the hard part is being able to truly listen to each other and come up with a solution to the disagreement together. You're not on opposite teams, competing to see who gets their way. You're on the same team, and your common opponent is the problem itself. But if your problem is exactly what's listed in this article, let me save you some time: Lorenzo is right about the guillotine thing. Don't fucking put your llama in a guillotine. That's just wrong, and you are wrong for having thought of it.

John is an editor and columnist right here at Cracked, with a new article every Thursday. You can also find him on Twitter and Facebook.

Be sure to check out 20 Ways They Could Make The Debates Actually Worth Watching for some tactics we'd most definitely tune in to watch.

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