I got paid the highest compliment the other day: “you never get defensive”. I’d never heard that one before, but it got me to thinking how damning it is to get defensive in an argument or anytime you are challenged. It might be the single most beta thing you can do (ok, that’s an overstatement).
Let’s say someone questions why you get so emotional in arguments. Getting defensive here, bringing your voice up an octave and repeating the same words used in the question: “I don’t get emotional in arguments” just disproves your contention. You just confirmed you’re a whiny bitch who doesn’t have any confidence in disproving the interrogator because they obviously hit a weak spot. You appear (and are) unprepared for the attack, and it makes you look vulnerable and pathetic. Men getting defensive over criticism from a female is just awful. I feel personally embarrassed when I witness it.
Instead of getting defensive, it’s better to either:
- Ignore the attacker, roll your eyes
- Agree with the attacker and leave them on the attack. If you listen intently enough and they go on talking for long enough, they will eventually contradict themselves. Then you can simply point this out. This is kind of like that Simpsons episode where Homer was a boxer and all he did was wait for the other guy to get tired before he pushed him over. This is a great way to win almost any argument. Very few people can put together a consistent attack where they don’t contradict themselves.
- Fight fire with fire and go on the attack. Make sure you attack your attacker on something that hits them harder than what they are hitting you with. They will most likely go on the defensive. Oh, how the proverbial tables have turned (side note, where the hell did “tables turning” come from anyway?).
“Think about any attachments that are depleting your emotional reserves. Consider letting them go.” – Oprah Winfrey :0
I’d like to thank Hillary Clinton’s emotional and defensive stance on Obama’s NAFTA accusations for providing the perfect picture for this blog post.