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Argument ~ Shamim Merchant

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“It’s utter waste of time to go by cruise. Flight is much cheaper and faster.”
“What do we have to do with faster Manohar? We’re going on a holiday. I know cruise is a bit more
expensive but the journey will be worth it.”
Mrunmayee and her husband Manohar were planning their annual vacation trip and the argument was on
how to go to Goa.
The good thing about their discussion was that each respected the other and heard the person out till the
last full stop. After weighing all the pros and cons they eventually decided to go by cruise and come back
by flight.


“Dad, shares are anytime better than fixed deposits. Can’t you see the profit difference between the two?”
“Mind your tone Snehal! Profits maybe less in fixed deposits but it’s definitely safer.”
“Oh come on dad! We can’t move ahead without taking risks.”
“But why do we have to put all the eggs in the same basket? Let’s do it 60/40.”
“No dad, shares it is. The market right now is perfect for investing in shares and you’ll have to agree with
me on that.”
And it went on. Heated. By the end neither the father nor the son were talking about the actual topic. One
was trying to dominate the other and only trying to satisfy his own ego.


ARGUMENT: an oral disagreement. A discussion involving difference of opinions. It can be constructive
like Manohar and Mrunmayee or lead to a full-on fight like Snehal and his father.
Arguments are important and necessary, but which path they will lead to depends on how you handle
them. They can easily take an ugly twist if you are not careful. Careful with your tone, choice of words
and body language. Of course, the quality and quantum of an argument varies from person to person, the
topic under discussion and the relationship between the two. Nevertheless it’s a skill to be able to argue
effectively, put your idea into the other person’s head without hurting his or her sentiments.
First and foremost feel the need, question yourself. Is an argument truly required? Only then it’s
worthwhile to put in your time, energy and rack your brains over it.
One of the easiest ways to win an argument is to have evidence for your views, from reliable sources.
Point out the pros and cons logically. If there is clarity in what you are saying then an upcoming argument
can be converted into a healthy discussion.
Be wise. Filter in your head, what to say and what to avoid. As I said earlier, choice of words is extremely
vital. You definitely can’t stand in front of a mirror and argue alone. You need someone. So if you are

rude and hurtful, will the other person stand there to be insulted? He’s sure to walk away. Terms used
matter a lot. Why do we argue? Because we want the other person to agree to us. So instead of using
words like I against YOU. Say WE, that itself is like half the battle won.
Both parties must have a fair chance to put forth their views and thoughts. Paraphrase what you’re hearing
to show the other person that you’re trying to understand his point as well. Not accepting a person’s
opinion is fine, but refusing to hear it makes the war of words meaningless.
Remember the objective of the argument in progress. It’s not about winning or losing. It’s about the subject
in discussion. So you may have begun with a strong belief but in due course you may realize,
“I was wrong. This is not the correct approach.”
Be a man. Have an open mind for new ideas and accept your mistake if there is one. It doesn’t make you
vulnerable in anyway. If anything, the other person will only have high regards for you after that.
Stay on the topic and don’t waver off. Which is very easy to do when arguing, especially if it prolongs
beyond the expected time frame. The very purpose of the argument diminishes. It simply goes off on an
ego trip.
Most important in an argument; you must know when to stop. It can go on if you are trying to win a war.
If you are only looking at feeding the green dragon inside. There will come a point when you feel that it’s
not fruitful anymore. That’s the time to call it a day and let the other person know.
“I guess we have a difference of opinion. I respect yours and expect the same in return.”
You may not have won the debate, but surely you have saved the relationship, which I presume is
paramount to you. When this thought sinks in, you will not wait to have the final say in the matter.
Last but not the least, be choosy. All battles are not worthy of arguing over or winning. Some things are
best left unsaid.
Here is a lovely quote to end with.

“Why do people always assume that volume will succeed when logic won’t?” – Damon

~ Shamim Merchant

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