Category Archives: Arguing vs. Fighting

A Threat is Not an Argument

In the founding days of this country using a threat to win an argument might’ve ended in a the-petticoat-duellistsduel. “I’m going to kill you,” wasn’t a flippant way of saying, “I’m really mad and I vehemently disagree with your point of view.” It was a statement of actual intent.

“Sword or pistol?”


If this were the case today, a third of the people in comment sections would be counting off paces. Because of the ease of anonymity in the age of social media, discussions devolve quickly into petty digital duels, each participant looking to come up with the final, most damaging, insult.

A sound argument is based on facts and logic, not fear. A person with a strong argument has no need to insult the other person, because they have plenty of ammunition to attack the argument itself.

So how to combat this culture of irrational behavior?

You can’t argue, productively, with a person who is irrational. You can only fight with them, and there’s no joy in that. If the person isn’t receptive to things like facts and reason, leave it alone. The person might be going through a difficult time and is just too emotional at the moment to have a rational discussion.

If you find yourself tempted to attack your opponent in the heat of an argument, resist. Turn your thoughts back to your argument. If the person is nor aware of important facts, don’t insult their intelligence–explain the facts to them without being condescending. Focus on the point you want to make, and the reasons or facts that support your point.

Keep your cool, know when to walk away, and when to refocus your argument to avoid emotional pitfalls.

Interested in more argument tips like this one? Check out The Joy of Argument here. It’s chock full of information you’ll need before and after every discussion. 

The Joy of Argument Gift Guide

Argument is a holiday pastime practiced by thousands of Americans. Each year we gather in tiny, tinseled living rooms across the country to debate our differences with those we love the most.

In the spirit of Christmas cheer and familial debate, we’ve created a list of seven people who should be receiving The Joy of Argument under the tree:

  1. Your Great Uncle Barry, camped out in the recliner, yelling through every political show…and then the news, and then Jeopardy.
    • Bookmark chapters: “Don’t insult” and “When not to argue”
  2. Your college freshman cousin, treasurer of the intramural debate team, and full of confidence after earning a B- in statistics.
    • Bookmark chapters: “What do the numbers prove?” and “Show me the facts!” 
  3.  Your wildly inappropriate Uncle Larry, who meets you at the door every year with a slap on the back and a dirty joke.
    • Bookmark chapters: “Hot words” and “Don’t nauseate people”
  4. Whichever relative has most recently compared their own walk of life (uphill both ways), to the free ride of your generation.
    • Bookmark chapters: “Challenge authorities” and “Don’t assume the traditional way”
  5. Your kid brother who’s looking for payback now that he’s gone through puberty.
    • Bookmark chapters: “An argument is not a fight” and “Attack arguments, not people”
  6. Your Aunt Nelly, who once knocked over an entire quart of eggnog while talking with her hands.
    • Bookmark chapters: “Nerves” and “Watch your body language”
  7. You. Christmas is coming.
    • See the chapter: “Get ready”

Don’t dissapoint your family this year. There’s still time to get The Joy of Argument in time for Christmas if you order now. Find it on here, and select two-day shipping.

Joy of Argument Albert Navarra

An Argument Is Not a Fight

For many people, the word “argument” brings to mind a fight between two red-faced individuals, voices raised, profanity flying, blood pressure stats off the charts.

But an argument is not a fight.


noun, ar·gu·men·ta·tion \ˌär-gyə-mən-ˈtā-shən,

the act or process of forming reasons and of drawing conclusions and applying them to a case in discussion


Argument is not a destructive method of conflict, but a tool we can use to express our opinions. Rather than a battle designed to wound pride and fracture relationships, a well-crafted argument can be used to communicate effectively, rationally and persuasively. Through good argument, the best ideas and opinions (eventually) surface and prevail.

Yet despite all the benefits of argument, few possess the ability to wield this powerful tool to their advantage. Examples of bad argument are everywhere — take a quick glance at the news, any political outlet, or the comment section on a social media post. Learning to argue well, instead of picking a fight, is a skill that takes knowledge and self-control.

The Joy of Argument was written to educate individuals who are tired of combative rhetoric, angry confrontation and purposeless fighting.  Simple enough for the everyday arguer, yet relevant for those using discourse professionally,  this book empowers its readers to be excellent arguers in an age of pointless bickering.

Argument is a part of your everyday life, and worth doing well. To learn more about The Joy of Argument click here.