The A Word: A Beginners Guide to Arguing

We’ve finally exchanged on our Hampshire property with completion on 7th September so it’s going to be a busy time.  We can’t move in right away as the house was a complete rebuild of an older property so there’s no curtains or carpets and the delivery on these is around 3 weeks.  It’s  taken longer than we expected and given that my packing for Cornwall was completely inappropriate for anything other than hot weather, I’m pleased we’re nearly there.   For reference, my bag included 3 pairs of sunglasses, sun cream, a sunhat, 2 handbags, 2 dresses, spray tan for legs and 2 pairs of sandals, who knows where I thought I was heading off to!

I now have all my investigative appointments booked for bloods, MRI scans and US scans at the Royal Surrey following my Rheumatology consultation.  They have come through quickly and are also in the calendar for September so that’s good.  Since I started writing my blog at the end of 2019 to raise awareness for autoimmune disease, I’ve received lots of messages, a large proportion of which relate to the time it takes to diagnose these conditions.  The most common autoimmune diseases include Multiple Sclerosis, Type 1 Diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus and Vasculitis and all are debilitating in their own way.  My AS comes under a term called “Spondyloarthritis”, an umbrella term for inflammatory diseases that can affect the  back, pelvis, neck, and some larger joints, as well as internal organs and the eyes and the average diagnosis takes 10 years.

I think the medical profession are making good progress securing earlier diagnosis and hopefully it will mean that people like myself won’t suffer for years in pain thinking they are going mad!

This week I wanted to talk about arguing.  I hate it and don’t like confrontation as it upsets me.  Some people love arguing and are very good at it.  Fortunately Jamie and I both dislike it which is great but I’ve needed to stand up for myself during my career so I thought I would provide my tips to help those of you who, like me, find it difficult.

In the heat of the moment and desperate to get our own point across we often don’t to listen to other opinions and I’m certainly guilty of that.  By listening you’re gaining knowledge and insight, as well as refining and improving your own position. Often disagreements escalate because of a misunderstanding but what can help is to repeat what you think the other person just said which can help to avoid misunderstandings.  I used to practice this in work situations, and it did help.

In today’s world, often arguments happen on social media.  If you’re faced with a Twitter troll, or a Facebook friend who lures you into a heated debate there are a number of techniques you can use to push your point of view.

Using ‘calm’ language to make a point is more effective than swearing or using aggressive terms.  Personally, I think people who get aggressive are suffering from a deficiency of facts during an argument. I think it’s fair to say you can’t win an argument with insults. The moment you do that, you’ve already lost. You can only win an argument by being factual and if you have insufficient information you can always keep quiet and end the argument; there’s no shame in that.

In a face to face argument, people often use both verbal and facial expressions.  Verbal expressions can include a cold or constant stare, a false or exaggerated smile, or a raised eyebrow, all of which make me more nervous.  Another technique I was taught, especially when I found myself getting upset was to try and use humour which can take the heat out of a situation.

A great example was the American actress Ilka Chase who wrote a number of novels. One day, an another actress told her: “I enjoyed reading your book. Who wrote it for you?” To which Chase replied: “Darling, I’m so glad that you liked it. Who read it to you?”  I’m not sure my own wit is up to that standard though!

I know it’s difficult to remember techniques when your angry and fired up. However, I do try hard to remind myself to stay calm, use facts as evidence to back up my position and ask questions.  I know they say that you shouldn’t preach what you don’t practice but I’ll say it anyway, my final tip is always be prepared to concede a good point 😊

Finally, I want to finish with a little ode I saw in the pub the other night which made me smile and also might help all of us to feel less guilty about our alcohol consumption.

The Horse and Mare live 30 years

And do not know of wines and beers

The Goat and Sheep at 20 die

And never taste the scotch or rye

The Cow drinks water by ton

At 15, their life is almost done

The Dog at 14 normally gives in

Without the aid of rum or gin

The modest sober bone-dry Hen

Lays eggs for years and dies at 10

But sinful, ginfull rum soaked men

Survive till 3 score years and 10

And some of us the mighty few

Say pickled till we are 92!

92 it is then, until next time, stay strong, 2020 is almost over 😊

xxxx

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