First of all, as a rule: avoid needless arguments—that’s one important warning for this generation.
Nevertheless, you can always engage in meaningful and purposeful arguments. Also, you may find yourself on the wrong side of an argument—and that’s alright. However, realizing that you are wrong, the right thing to do is admit your error.
One of the most difficult things to say during an argument is: “I was wrong, you’re right”. This is without surprise, given the amount of energy and self-confidence most of us put into debates. After realizing that we have been wrong all along, it would then seem an herculean task to retract our words and give due admittance to the other person’s views. But, how difficult is it to admit ones mistakes? And how can we engage in more healthy arguments that make it easier to acknowledge our own flaws?
Never Argue with the Intention of Winning (Unless in an organised debate): For many people, arguments are like competitions from which they can obtain bragging rights over their opponents. So, whenever they misspeak or get a point wrong, they find it very difficult to admit their error. However, arguments should never be about winning or losing, and we need not put any ego into them. Instead, we should indulge every argument without expecting any praise. And if we end up being wrong, it won’t feel like we have lost a battle.
Always Hope to Learn Something New: When you argue, you should be humble enough to have an open mind. Sometimes, the subject of argument inspires a hardline approach from us, but we can still make errors in our discussion. However, if we’ve trained our minds to take something good from every discussion, we will find it easier to admit our mistakes and also acknowledge the other person’s contribution. By doing this, we’ll have more productive discussions and also end our arguments with no animosity.
Do Not Argue with the Intention of Hurting the Other Person’s Feelings: It is usually the case during arguments that you see people attacking the other person instead of the subject of discussion. When wrong words are spoken, most people do not retract them because their intentions were assaultive to begin with. So, having the most noble intentions is really important if we’re to be objective in debates.
No One is Above Mistake: Even when our own side of the argument appears right, there’s still the possibility that we’ve made errors in making our case. Knowing that we’re not above mistake, we’ll be less reluctant to admit our errors.
It is true that arguments don’t have to end in a win-lose situation, but there is honour in acknowledging ones mistakes and validating the other person’s points. Failure to do this could turn us into sour debaters, making irrational contribution to the subject-matter. It is even more telling on the internet, with many people becoming unwitting trolls instead of just admitting their errors. As Kristin Wong wrote for the New York Times, “it’s easy to find yourself wading in the murky waters of trolldom. In other words, we all have the capacity to engage in unproductive, meanspirited arguments online that don’t reflect our character in person”.
Also Thomas Chandler Haliburton wrote: “when a man is wrong and won’t admit it, he always gets angry”.
These days, with the internet closing the distance between people, we find ourselves drawn into more and more debates. When controversial topics are discussed on social media platforms, it is easy to hide behind the screen and make bogus claims. But, remember this: “the internet remembers everything”. We should be ready always to politely admit our mistakes. So, learn to say: “I was wrong, you’re right”, because we are all prone to making mistakes.