I never used to argue for my comfort, because I thought Jesus asked us to turn our other cheek. Jesus was wrong on this one.
Recently, I’ve started to argue, and here is what I have learned.
- Argue early and argue often. Accommodation is for pussies. People are too forgetful to remember their own unreasonable behavior. So if you are late to argue for your case, you will sound like a passive-aggressive grudge maintaining asshole. If you argue often, people will know you would argue, and will try to minimize argument pre-emptively.
- The technique of dimensional equalization. When you argue for your case, people will come up with lame excuses as to why they are on the right side. e.g. I cannot use a table-lamp because I am not used to it, I need the whole house to be lit all night. The key to responding to this is by claiming that you are not used to sleeping in a well-lit room. Whose used-to-ness is more important? I did this today in an argument with very effective results. Unreasonable demands are more obvious when we are arguing along the same dimension. e.g. used-to-ness.
- Offer technological solutions. Often technological solutions like a table lamp can solve a conflict, and can reveal weaknesses/prejudices of your opponent.
- Desensitize yourself to epinephrine: Epinephrine (previously adrenaline) levels rise during an argument and cloud your judgment. The only way I know to be resistant to adrenaline is through exercise.
- Compromises must be definite. Often compromises will be vaguely defined. e.g. Let us discuss this later. You need to make these vague compromises definite. When will we discuss this? We should discuss this now. Leave no wiggle room for interpretation.
- Initiate a bad bargain as a compromise. e.g. Let us turn off lights from 2 a.m.