In any disagreement, no matter how respectful it is, each person has 4 options at any given time:
- Continue discussing it
- Stop discussing it because the value of convincing the other person isn’t worth the time and effort
- Stop discussing it out of fear of conflict or of the other person liking you less if you keep at it
- Stop discussing it because you accept that you’re wrong
Option 1 people have a higher threshold for when to stop arguing, relative to the people they argue with. Either they’re very persuasive or, more often, they’re good at wearing people down until they give up. They can be difficult, and sometimes downright toxic. I’m sure you can think of some option 1 people you’ve dealt with.
Option 2 people give up because it’s not worth their time. Sometimes option 2 people are just busy or pragmatic, but often I find that option 2 situations say more about the winner than the conceder. If you encounter lots of option 2 people, maybe you have a reputation of being an option 1 person so people have given up on productive discussions with you.
Option 3 people probably don’t like conflict or awkward conversations. I am an option 3 person. I wrote about that a bit here. Option 3 people are tough because if they back down, it’s hard to tell they’re actually convinced or just uncomfortable and trying to be polite.
Option 4 people either like to play devil’s advocate and purposely pick the losing side, or hold strong opinions loosely and are willing to be proven wrong. Option 4 people pursue truth and growth over ego and being right. I strive to be an option 4 person.
I think there’s a lot of value in identifying which type you are, and telling your friends/coworkers/partner. So which type are you? Or am I totally off? Tweet at me and let me know.