I’m sure many of us have seen those memes of referees which are labelled with logical fallacies for arguments. I’m also sure that we’ve seen a lot of arguments all over social media and IRL with friends and family that are full of these logical fallacies. With how many hot button issues exist in the world right now (elections, immigration, abortion, etc.) we’re all going to find ourselves dragged into these ‘discussions’. If you’ve got the privilege and you’ve got the spoons, prepare to speak up. So I’ve decided to put together a little list of tips for dealing with difficult people during these inevitable internet arguments. In no particular order of importance, here goes:
Rule #1: Provide multiple sources. The more articles you can find that back you up, from multiple different news outlets and possibly even government agencies the better.
Rule #2: Remember: you are not trying to win. Your goal is not to make the other person admit they were wrong, recant their original statement, or apologize in any way. Your goal is to get the lurker reading the argument (we’ve all done that. We know you’re there. It’s okay. We see you.) to stop and think. Convincing the visible person doesn’t matter, the invisible people do.
Rule #3: Do NOT stoop to name calling. We know you’re angry. You’re one hundred percent allowed to be angry. Anger doesn’t lose an argument. Letting your rhetoric devolve into personal attacks loses an argument. You will never convince anyone reading if you’re busy attacking the other person instead of defending your point.
Rule #4: It is okay to stop responding. If someone is becoming abusive, if you’re out of spoons, if you’ve proved your point six ways to Sunday and this person just won’t give up, you can just leave the argument. Leaving is not defeat.
Rule #5: When you’ve done all the research and they demand more, turn it around. If someone tells you your sources are wrong, biased, etc and refutes your point but refuses to provide proof of their points; stop the argument. Make your next comment about their lack of sources. you’re happy to continue the discussion if they can provide you their sources, but without sources, you’re dealing with hearsay and only one of you is spouting actual facts. (Hint: it’s you.) Do not feel compelled to keep finding sources, if they can’t prove anything, you’re done.
Rule #6: If you’re wrong, admit it. If someone provides a reliably sourced fact that contradicts you, acknowledge it. Admit you hadn’t seen that information and adapt your argument accordingly.
Rule #7: If you have to stop, forgive yourself. If you run out of spoons, it’s okay. If you just can’t stand this person anymore, you’re 100% valid in that. Turn off notifications on the post, hide it if you have to, and step away. You’re all good.
Positive about me for today: I’m super close to graduating college with my bachelor’s degree and I’ve worked really hard to get to this point. I’m proud of me.