How to Cope With Argumentative People - North Brooklyn Therapy (2023)

30Mar 2019

Your partner might not even notice that they’re argumentative, or that when they think you’re having a conversation, you feel like you’re having a fight. They may have learned this communication style as a child, or they may have insecurities or fears that make them feel defensive or shameful — everyone has something that makes them feel this way.

(Video) How to Deal with Difficult People | Jay Johnson | TEDxLivoniaCCLibrary

Your partner may have an argumentative personality, which makes them feel the need to argue their point of view, no matter how trivial the subject matter seems to you. Argumentative personalities often feel they’re being direct and honest about their feeling, but their communication styles are perceived as combative or aggressive.

What is an argumentative personality

Some people are just argumentative and have lots of strong opinions. But there’s a big difference between a spirited debate and an argument. Argumentative personalities could stem from a wide range of factors including:

  • Communication behaviors learned in childhood
  • Unhappiness
  • Insecurity or shame
  • Defensiveness
  • History of emotional abuse
  • Clinical personality disorder (narcissist, borderline, etc)

It’s also possible they’ve lost their curiosity or have become jaded. People who are curious about others are often better listeners and able to debate a topic without aggression. However, if your partner has lost their curiosity or aren’t interested in other people’s point of view, they may not care what you or anyone else has to say about anything or not have respect for the opinions of others.

Signs of an argumentative personality

People with argumentative personalities are usually self-absorbed. They often find fault with everything or don’t agree with anything you say. Their favorite phrases are:

  • You’re wrong
  • No offense, but
  • It’s your fault

They often have little insight into their own behavior and how it impacts others. Even if they’re not necessarily arguing with you, they probably have bigger, better, or more famous stories than you, to make themselves appear more knowledgeable or powerful. An often, if you call them out on their behavior, they’ll find a way to make the argument your fault or blame you for getting upset while they’re just “having a conversation” with you. Often, they’re defensive, especially when they interact with someone whose opinions differ from their own.

Spending time with an argumentative person isn’t all bad

While spending time with an argumentative person can be exceptionally frustrating and exhausting, you may also find that you develop your skills to stand up for yourself and articulate your thoughts clearly and logically. You’ll hone your skills and fine tune your abiltiy to debate a topic.

How to live with an argumentative personality

First, in many cases, argumentative personalities stem from insecurity and their defensive communications may stem from their perception that they need to defend themselves. You may find that you are more patient and empathetic to argumentative people and their immature communication methods when you realize that their nature stems from insecurity and fears.

How to Cope With Argumentative People - North Brooklyn Therapy (2)

You can also reduce the risk of arguments by changing the way you make requests or ask questions. For example, you may find that you get a more positive response with statements such as “I need you to pick up bread and milk on your way home from work” instead of questions like “Do you think you can stop at the grocery store on your way home.”

You may also find that statements that are meant to calm the situation such as “Let’s discuss this peacefully” or “I don’t want to argue” are more like red flags to a bull than soothing phrases. The argumentative person in your life may perceive these phrases as criticism or even bait for a fight.

(Video) How to react when someone insults you? Dealing with Rude People – Personality Development Tips

Remind yourself that their argumentative nature is usually a learned behavior that can change with support and practice. You can talk to the licensed counselors at North Brooklyn Therapy about how to improve your communication skills and support your partner. The team can also provide customized therapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), to help your partner learn to recognize and modify their negative thoughts and behaviors.

Tips to manage your arguments

Obviously, losing your temper, raising your voice, or getting emotional isn’t going to make your communication any clearer. However, you can take a few steps to slow your arguments without giving in or withdrawing from the conversation.

Try phrases such as “Let me think about that” to buy a little time to consider how you want to respond to a comment. Taking your time to articulate an answer can help you be as clear as possible.

You may also say something such as “You may be right” or “I understand what you’re saying.” These phrases show a willingness to compromise and empathy. If your partner is arguing or acting defensively, these phrases may help them feel like you are hearing what they’re saying.

If you’re constantly arguing with your partner, or a friend or family member, you can be supportive of them and encourage them to talk to a counselor. Ultimately, you can’t make them do anything, and you can only change your own point of view and behavior. You don’t need to give in or avoid the argumentative person in your life, but you can improve your own communication skills and identify the topics that you’re willing to compromise on or agree to disagree.

The experienced licensed counselors at North Brooklyn Therapy can help you improve your communication and control your own negative thoughts and feelings. Or, if you think that you’re argumentative, they can help you explore and resolve the issues that contribute to your behavior and repair and strengthen your relationships with friends, family, and other loved ones.

5 Responses

  1. How to Cope With Argumentative People - North Brooklyn Therapy (3)
    Ian

    |

    (Video) Fight Smarter: Avoid the Most Common Argument Patterns - Esther Perel

    Great article. Regarding “I need you to pick up bread and milk on your way home from work” … I don’t mean to take you literally, I tried this but it also generated argument 🙂 Further ongoing experimentation ultimately found this works better: “Hey , we’re almost out of bread and milk. Would you be able to get some on your way home from work? I could do it sometime (but it’s not really on my way and I’m cooking dinner right now)? Let me know? xxx”.

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    (Video) How To Hold Your Ground In Any Argument

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FAQs

How do you respond to an argumentative person? ›

study to provide some concrete strategies.
  1. Get the feelings out into the open. Rumination only makes things worse. ...
  2. Don't take it personally. ...
  3. Find a neutral way to talk to the person. ...
  4. Don't get caught up in arguments you don't want to have. ...
  5. Help give the person some ideas for finding other forms of anger expression.
20 Dec 2016

What do you call a person who argues about everything? ›

If you love to argue, you're eristic. Being eristic is a fairly common quality for a debater to have. Eristic describes things that have to do with an argument, or simply the tendency to debate, especially when someone loves to win an argument and values that more highly than arriving at the truth.

What causes a person to be argumentative? ›

Argumentative personalities could stem from a wide range of factors including: Communication behaviors learned in childhood. Unhappiness. Insecurity or shame.

How do you disarm an argumentative partner? ›

5 Ways to Disarm an Argument
  1. Pause Breathe Relax.
  2. Maintain gentle physical contact.
  3. Agree with your partner.
  4. Express how you feel.
  5. Insert laugh track here.
12 Dec 2018

What is it called when someone disagrees with everything you say? ›

argumentative. adjective. showing disapproval someone who is argumentative often argues or disagrees with people.

How do you defuse an argument with a narcissist? ›

Here are the steps you should take:
  1. Don't argue about 'right' and 'wrong' ...
  2. Instead, try to empathise with their feelings. ...
  3. Use 'we' language. ...
  4. Don't expect an apology. ...
  5. Ask about a topic that interests them. ...
  6. Don't take the bait yourself. ...
  7. Remember to put yourself first.
11 Feb 2018

How do you shut down an argument? ›

Here are four simple statements you can use that will stop an argument 99 percent of the time.
  1. “Let me think about that.” This works in part because it buys time. ...
  2. “You may be right.” This works because it shows willingness to compromise. ...
  3. “I understand.” These are powerful words. ...
  4. “I'm sorry.”

How do you deal with people who think they're always right? ›

How to deal with people who think they're always right
  1. Don't suggest they're suffering from a personality disorder. ...
  2. Keep in mind that they have an underdeveloped emotional intelligence. ...
  3. Don't get upset. ...
  4. Take into account that you might be wrong. ...
  5. Be careful with the way you communicate.
30 May 2022

How do you argue with someone who is never wrong? ›

How to Win an Argument with Someone Who is Never Wrong ...
  1. 1 Stay Calm and Strong. Maintain your confidence if you firmly believe in your case. ...
  2. 2 Support Claims with Evidence. ...
  3. 3 State Facts Vs Opinions. ...
  4. 4 Choose Your Battles Wisely. ...
  5. 5 Stay Away from Sarcasm. ...
  6. 6 Consider Alternatives. ...
  7. 7 Let It Go.

What is it called when someone turns something around on you? ›

They turn the story around to make it seem like you are at fault, deflecting attention and blame away from them to make you feel guilty. This type of emotional manipulation is called gaslighting.

How do you end an argument without apologizing? ›

Genius Ways To End Any Argument
  1. Stay Physically Close To Each Other. ...
  2. Agree To Make Small Changes. ...
  3. Use A Safe Word. ...
  4. Go Ahead And Take A Break. ...
  5. Agree To Disagree. ...
  6. Take The Argument Somewhere Else. ...
  7. Disagree Through A Different Medium. ...
  8. Go For A Walk Together.
22 Mar 2017

What is stonewalling in a relationship? ›

Stonewalling is, well, what it sounds like. In a discussion or argument, the listener withdraws from the interaction, shutting down and closing themselves off from the speaker because they are feeling overwhelmed or physiologically flooded. Metaphorically speaking, they build a wall between them and their partner.

How do you stop toxic fighting? ›

How to Stop Fighting in A Relationship
  1. Dodge the Defensive. ...
  2. Step Away From the Situation to Cool Down. ...
  3. Always Fight or Argue Face to Face. ...
  4. Create Boundaries for A Fight. ...
  5. Remember Why You're in The Relationship. ...
  6. Take Care of The Conflict as Soon as Possible. ...
  7. Consider Therapy. ...
  8. Take Some Time Apart.
4 Feb 2019

How do you win an argument psychologically? ›

Do
  1. Stay calm. Even if you get passionate about your point you must stay cool and in command of your emotions. ...
  2. Use facts as evidence for your position. ...
  3. Ask questions. ...
  4. Use logic. ...
  5. Appeal to higher values. ...
  6. Listen carefully. ...
  7. Be prepared to concede a good point. ...
  8. Study your opponent.

How do you respond to someone who doesn't agree with you? ›

5 Ways to (Respectfully) Disagree
  1. Don't make it personal. ...
  2. Avoid putting down the other person's ideas and beliefs. ...
  3. Use "I" statements to communicate how you feel, what you think, and what you want or need. ...
  4. Listen to the other point of view. ...
  5. Stay calm.

How do you deal with people who oppose you? ›

  1. Active Listening. ...
  2. Let your body show that you're engaged. ...
  3. Don't spend your time formulating a response. ...
  4. Acknowledge emotions and summarize the content. ...
  5. Curiosity, open-ended questions, and translating positions. ...
  6. Respectful/nonjudgmental communication. ...
  7. Separate the person from the problem. ...
  8. Keep your own emotions out of it.

When someone argues for the sake of arguing? ›

Argumentative is the most obvious. Then there is cantankerous, polemic, belligerent, combative, confrontational, truculent, pugnacious, and the simplest being quarrelsome.

How do you respond to a narcissistic insult? ›

What to Say to Disarm a Narcissist
  1. “I don't agree with you, but you have a right to have your opinion. ...
  2. “You are certainly entitled to your opinion. ...
  3. “We can agree to disagree.”
  4. “We will work on this together.”
  5. “Let me ask your advice on this. ...
  6. “I hear what you're saying.”
  7. “I'm sorry you feel that way.”
12 Dec 2021

How do you stop a narcissist from controlling you? ›

  1. Educate yourself about NPD. ...
  2. Build your self-esteem. ...
  3. Speak up for yourself. ...
  4. Set clear boundaries. ...
  5. Practice skills to keep calm. ...
  6. Find a support system. ...
  7. Insist on immediate action, not promises. ...
  8. Understand that a narcissistic person may need professional help.

When someone repeats what you say in an argument? ›

Echolalia comes from the word “echo”. Similar to an 'echo', echolalia occurs when someone repeats back a word or phrase said by someone else. In addition to repeating back the same words, the speaker also often imitates the same tone and inflection.

Is walking away from an argument disrespectful? ›

Saying nothing and walking away is not a good option because it is likely the other person will feel they're being punished; in addition, it doesn't let them know that you will be returning later. It may help to talk when things are calm and agree that either person can take a time-out during an argument if necessary.

What does diffusing an argument mean? ›

| Usage. To defuse (something) is to make a threatening or dangerous situation safer. For example, you might defuse a violent argument by calming the people involved, or you might literally defuse a bomb by deactivating its fuse.

What personality type is always right? ›

ESTJs have a tendency to think they are always right and that their moral compass is objective, absolute and universal.

What do you call a person that always has to be right? ›

There are many words to describe someone who always needs to be right, including indomitable, adamant, unrelenting, insistent, intransigent, obdurate, unshakeable, dictatorial.

How do you deal with people who think they know it all? ›

8 Tips For Dealing With A Know-It-All Coworker
  1. Do you have a coworker who thinks he knows everything? ...
  2. Be empathetic. ...
  3. Pick your battles. ...
  4. Lead by example. ...
  5. Be armed with your own facts. ...
  6. Keep your sense of humor. ...
  7. Ask probing questions. ...
  8. Take the person aside and offer constructive feedback on their behavior.
9 Sept 2013

What do you call a person who never admits to being wrong? ›

A narcissist is never sorry because he (or she) perceives himself as perfect. He can't be wrong. He views himself as superior to everyone and, thus, always right.

What is the best way to handle someone who refuses to accept they have made a mistake even when the facts are indisputable? ›

If you have no choice but to interact with that person regularly, consider taking a strategic approach to communication.
  • Express Your Feelings. Explaining how a person's "never wrong" attitude affects you can be a good first step in pointing out why it's a problem. ...
  • Active Listening. ...
  • Problem Solving. ...
  • Disconnecting.

What is it called when someone can never admit they are wrong? ›

incorrigible: incapable of being corrected or amended. In context, the word usually implies that the person doesn't respond well to criticism or admit fault.

How do you outsmart a gaslighter? ›

Here are eight tips for responding and taking back control.
  1. First, make sure it's gaslighting. ...
  2. Take some space from the situation. ...
  3. Collect evidence. ...
  4. Speak up about the behavior. ...
  5. Remain confident in your version of events. ...
  6. Focus on self-care. ...
  7. Involve others. ...
  8. Seek professional support.

What should you not say in an argument? ›

Words and phrases to avoid, and what to say instead
  • Insulting or belittling criticism. Instead of saying: “You're such an [idiot, &#%-hole, etc]”; “ ...
  • Accusatory phrasing like “You always…” or “You never…” Instead of saying: “You always put yourself first!”; ...
  • Dismissive responses. Instead of saying: I don't care...
5 May 2019

How do you stay quiet in an argument? ›

Top tips to help you stay calm during disagreements or arguments
  1. Calming down in the moment.
  2. Try breathing exercises.
  3. Look after yourself.
  4. Work it out.
  5. Listen to your child/children.
  6. Make a plan, take action by using "I" statements.
  7. Your child's behaviour.
  8. If you do not live with your children.

What should you not do in an argument? ›

9 of the worst things to do in an argument with your partner, according to therapists:
  • Talk at or around your partner. ...
  • Interrupt, or speak without responding. ...
  • Use accusatory 'you' statements. ...
  • Disengage your body or eyes. ...
  • Add other people into the argument. ...
  • Apologize when you don't mean it. ...
  • Bring up past gripes.
5 Aug 2021

Why do some people turn everything into an argument? ›

Argumentative personalities could stem from a wide range of factors including: Communication behaviors learned in childhood. Unhappiness. Insecurity or shame.

What is a narcissistic conversationalist? ›

How about you? The term “conversational narcissist” was coined by sociologist Charles Derber who describes the trait of consistently turning a conversation back to yourself. A balanced conversation involves both sides, but conversational narcissists tend to keep the focus on themselves.

How do you end an argument without apologizing? ›

Genius Ways To End Any Argument
  1. Stay Physically Close To Each Other. ...
  2. Agree To Make Small Changes. ...
  3. Use A Safe Word. ...
  4. Go Ahead And Take A Break. ...
  5. Agree To Disagree. ...
  6. Take The Argument Somewhere Else. ...
  7. Disagree Through A Different Medium. ...
  8. Go For A Walk Together.
22 Mar 2017

How do you deal with a person who always thinks they are right? ›

  1. Don't take it personally. ...
  2. When possible, walk away from the conflict. ...
  3. Stay out of the blame game. ...
  4. Keep the conflict focused on one topic. ...
  5. Avoid the trap of supporting witnesses.
16 Sept 2021

How do you calm down an argument? ›

Top tips to help you stay calm during disagreements or arguments
  1. Calming down in the moment.
  2. Try breathing exercises.
  3. Look after yourself.
  4. Work it out.
  5. Listen to your child/children.
  6. Make a plan, take action by using "I" statements.
  7. Your child's behaviour.
  8. If you do not live with your children.

What should you not say in an argument? ›

Words and phrases to avoid, and what to say instead
  • Insulting or belittling criticism. Instead of saying: “You're such an [idiot, &#%-hole, etc]”; “ ...
  • Accusatory phrasing like “You always…” or “You never…” Instead of saying: “You always put yourself first!”; ...
  • Dismissive responses. Instead of saying: I don't care...
5 May 2019

How do you end an argument in a healthy way? ›

Here are four simple statements you can use that will stop an argument 99 percent of the time.
  1. “Let me think about that.” This works in part because it buys time. ...
  2. “You may be right.” This works because it shows willingness to compromise. ...
  3. “I understand.” These are powerful words. ...
  4. “I'm sorry.”

How do you break the ice after an argument? ›

7 Tips For Repairing Your Relationship After A Fight
  1. Give Each Other Time And Space. After an argument with your partner, it's important to give each other time and space. ...
  2. Feel Your Feelings. ...
  3. Use I Statements. ...
  4. Actively Listen. ...
  5. Take A Break If Needed. ...
  6. Apologize And Reconnect. ...
  7. Make A Plan For The Future.

How do you argue with someone who is never wrong? ›

How to Win an Argument with Someone Who is Never Wrong ...
  1. 1 Stay Calm and Strong. Maintain your confidence if you firmly believe in your case. ...
  2. 2 Support Claims with Evidence. ...
  3. 3 State Facts Vs Opinions. ...
  4. 4 Choose Your Battles Wisely. ...
  5. 5 Stay Away from Sarcasm. ...
  6. 6 Consider Alternatives. ...
  7. 7 Let It Go.

What do you call someone who can never admit they are wrong? ›

A narcissist will never admit even horrendous mistakes and when confronted, he will deflect, delay, and tell more lies. He believes he is invincible and perfect. When we look deeply into ourselves and know we have been wrong, we are able to say “I make mistakes”.

How do you deal with people who can't be wrong? ›

How To Deal With A Partner Who's NEVER Wrong
  1. Accept That the Root of That Is Pride. Or Insecurity. ...
  2. Avoid Personalizing Their Pride. Or Insecurity. ...
  3. Try to Deactivate Your “Need to Have the Last Word” Trigger. media.giphy.com. ...
  4. Present Things in Question Form. ...
  5. Get Off of the Eggshells. ...
  6. Create a Safe Haven for Them to Be Wrong.
6 Jul 2020

Can arguing cause anxiety? ›

Conflict

Relationship problems, arguments, disagreements — these conflicts can all trigger or worsen anxiety. If conflict particularly triggers you, you may need to learn conflict resolution strategies. Also, talk with a therapist or other mental health expert to learn how to manage the feelings these conflicts cause.

How do you calm an angry person down? ›

What can friends and family do?
  1. Stay calm. ...
  2. Try to listen to them. ...
  3. Give them space. ...
  4. Set boundaries. ...
  5. Help them identify their triggers. ...
  6. Support them to seek professional help. ...
  7. Look after your own wellbeing.

What is stonewalling in a relationship? ›

Stonewalling is, well, what it sounds like. In a discussion or argument, the listener withdraws from the interaction, shutting down and closing themselves off from the speaker because they are feeling overwhelmed or physiologically flooded. Metaphorically speaking, they build a wall between them and their partner.

What is a narcissistic conversationalist? ›

How about you? The term “conversational narcissist” was coined by sociologist Charles Derber who describes the trait of consistently turning a conversation back to yourself. A balanced conversation involves both sides, but conversational narcissists tend to keep the focus on themselves.

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