5 Things I Hate About Discussions

United States
December 25, 2009 11:59am CST
As a Westerner, I have been unable to shake the belief that communication can solve all of our problems. Due to my inability to abandon this ideology, I tend to humbly engage in dialogue with scholars/academics as well as those who haven't been educated in a university setting. My motivations have always been to understand various perspectives in order to enrich my own, or to be introduced, or myself introduce, a concept. However, what I am beginning to notice is that many people, regardless of their educational background, can not distinguish the difference between Interpersonal communication (conversing to achieve understanding) and debate (pitting one's perspective against the other in order to beat them like the conversation is a game). This results in verbal battles that tend to end with engaging parties viewing the other as a buffoon, which defeats the purpose of communication in the first place. Recently, I removed myself from a conversation that I suspected would spiral into such a pointless exchange early on. From this experience I came up with a list of what I consider the most irritating things anyone can do when engaging in discussion. 1. Make a judgement on a subject without knowing anything about it aside propaganda. Example 1: "President Obama's X plan, or policy is socialist," when the person doesn't actually know what "socialism" (and on more than one occasion "capitalism") is. Example 2: "Feminism has ruined the black community," when the person making the claim has never read any works by black feminists (and likely never read the works of any feminist). 2. Uses analogies, or information which contradict their claims. Example: "In a relationship someone has to lead, its just like with nations. There is a president, and a vice president, not two presidents" an analogy clearly based on the misunderstanding of U.S. politics. Congress writes and passes law. The president can veto congress, and congress can override the president's veto. Then the supreme court can strike down any law it deems unconstitutional, and at the very end if the people find the government illegitimate they can overthrow it. 3. Revert to "end all debate" comments as opposed to reason. Example 1: "Because that's how it has always been." Example 2: "Because X is natural/unnatural." Example 3: "Because the [insert your scripture here] says so." Example 4: "Because I'm your mother/father and I said so." 4. Making accusations without evidence. Example 1: "I think you just can't see past your misconceptions" without being able to directly quote what the person said, or wrote to support that claim. 5. Attacking the other party's character. Example 1: "If you can't understand that, then I guess you aren't as smart as I thought you were." Example 2: "I think you just hate men." followed by "you're ugly anyways, and no man would want you." which doesn't really make any sense if you really think about it. If I hate men, why do I care what they think of me? So far these are the top five things I hate to witness or experience during a conversation, whether it be in real life or online. What's your top five?
1 person likes this
6 responses
• Mexico
25 Dec 09
Hi dedgurl sings the bvlues: first of all you have made a great list of what we consider stupid arguments in a debate that are used very often and that, some of them as you have mentioned not, they're not just faux arguments but they offend human dignity. We all have to deal with these kind of "arguments" when we try to express our point of view. It's difficult for me to make a top 5 because the one you made it's very clear. Even with that I'll try: 1. To end the debate when you feel that you are almost lost and that you don't have anything more to say, maybe offended and saying that you don't care what the other person thinks about the subject. Example: "Maybe I am wrong but it works for me so i'll keep thinking the way i am no matter if you think it doesn't make sense" 2. Make an argument based on what an autority would say in that case. Example: "The fathers of our nation would disapproved gay marriage". 3. Claiming that in the future everybody would know that you are right. Example1: Some years ago you'll notice how bad is this new law Example2: History will make you know that i am right. I have no more ideas right now. Anyway. Thanks for starting this discussion. Hope you are having a nice day. Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays. Take care. -Alvaro.
• United States
26 Dec 09
Hey Starsailover, I can't believe I missed that first one you listed. I hate that "let's agree to disagree" or "well that's my opinion" when the other person really means I don't want to explain why I believe what I believe. To me its like saying "I talk just to hear my own voice", or like speaking is some sort of fad. On more than one occasion I have had to force myself not to scream "why did you even bother to talk!" A few minutes ago I check my messages, and came up with another issue. Once you, or the other person has decided to withdraw from the conversation, the other person who used one, or more of the tactics I listed previously decides to keep talking to you about the subject you said you would no longer talk about. On the one hand I wonder, maybe they think I am on to something or they've figured out what they were doing, but then I just realize they're piling more crap on top of their dung pile, hoping to beat you at a game you're not even playing.
@tawny_24 (351)
• United States
26 Dec 09
I have been reading some of the exchanges between the person that started this discussion and the respondents and I have come to the conclusion that Dedgurl has a combative communication style, probably rooted in a longstanding feeling of not being understood, listened to, or accepted for what she beleives in. That combative way of dealing with people colors every part of this discussion. Look at the defensive responses to other peoples comments. Perhaps she feels that she is always getting into debates because she is starting them and doesn't even realize it. Men may call her a man hater because she throws out insults with out really taking the time to see them as hurtful words. She must be very frustrated in general. People may reply "because I said so" just because they are tired of arguing with her. I wonder if she knows how to be objective and not just analytical. I wonder if she can see that she is doing it all to herself?
• United States
26 Dec 09
Tawny_24 If it was possible I would message you privately about this subject, but I cannot. The man hater line has never been said to me. A young woman on youtube had been receiving those types of things in her comments section, and just recently made a video about it. If you would like to view it, the person's name is NuclearNight, and the video is called To my Trolls, or something to that extent. The sentence that follows was me interpreting how little sense that argument makes. To be honest only two of all the examples from the list have happened to me. Your post to my original comment about the advice you got from a professor in regards to psychology (or the psyche) is a concept I am familiar with, and constantly examine in relation to myself. I try to never accuse others of doing this, or even suggest they may be for that reason. What I wrote is not about differing opinions. This I have no issue with. I am simply frustrated when people can not explain why they think the way they do regardless of whether we agree or not. It suggests they either don't really want to talk, or haven't thought about. Again, this was a rant. It was met to state what irritates me, and release some tension. Finally, why didn't you come at me directly with what you wrote here? Why are you posting it in reply to other people about me, as opposed to saying to me either here, or in response to my other posts, or by sending me a friend invite to private message me, to say hey what you said comes off harsh? I realize that you might not think I am owed direct acknowledgement, but it would have been courteous. I am sending you a friend invite, I would like to discuss this issue with you in private.
@jb78000 (15163)
27 Dec 09
this is a nicely put list of non-arguments. personally someone who uses one or two of them sometimes doesn't bother me too much, nobody is perfect. however i generally would prefer not to debate with somebody who says or writes nothing but one of these 5 - it feels fairly pointless - although this doesn't mean that i won't engage in other kinds of conversation or discussion with them.
• United States
27 Dec 09
I agree with you on that one. I am, however, still trying to figure out at what point I should disengage. So far I do so if I feel that the other person has not yet come to terms with the possibility that what they are saying doesn't make sense or if they have gotten so defensive that even when we agree on a point they keep insisting that we agree on nothing. Which introduces another, When a person believes that if you disagree with one thing you disagree on everything. I had this happen to me in a class. This mindset frightens me a little. I wonder how this would play out if this individual held a position of power.
1 person likes this
@jb78000 (15163)
27 Dec 09
this appears common and i agree it can be disturbing, (or boring). it goes along with the idea that if you think blah then you will certainly think blah, blah and blah and disagree with those that think blah2 on everything. when if they spent 2 seconds actually thinking they might realise that most people agree with most others on something and disagree with them on something else.
@coolcoder (2019)
• United States
25 Dec 09
Would you like someone to post Robert's Rules of Order on here? This is pretty much what I'm getting from your post. This is a place to share opinions and talk about things in a non-academic environment. I've been in my share of classrooms, which resulted in my getting a bachelor's degree, and the last thing I want is to go on a site like this one and get all formal again. That would be completely and utterly boring. [b] From this experience I came up with a list of what I consider the most irritating things anyone can do when engaging in discussion. 1. Make a judgement on a subject without knowing anything about it aside propaganda. Example 1: "President Obama's X plan, or policy is socialist," when the person doesn't actually know what "socialism" (and on more than one occasion "capitalism") is.[/b] You're assuming way too much here. What you consider propaganda is a matter of your own opinion, depending on which side of the political spectrum you fall on. You're offended by what you see in some of the discussions on here, right? Frankly, I'm offended by the blatant snobbery that your post reeks of. If you want an intellectual, formal debate, go to a political chatroom or something like that.
• United States
26 Dec 09
Where in my post did I say I was talking about a discussion I had on mylot? When did I suggest people follow specific rules when it came to discussion? I simply asked people to list what they're most irritated by when having a discussion, any discussion in any setting. This discussion has been classified as a rant. That is what I was doing. Also I used the term propaganda to point out when people can only reply using propaganda, as in they literally can't explain something past a catch phrase, or talking point because they haven't thought about it on any level deeper than that. As for you being offended, I can't be held accountable for you getting upset because you misinterpreted what I said.
@tawny_24 (351)
• United States
26 Dec 09
I think that expectations play a huge part in how much one enjoys dealing with people. If you expect someone to adhere to the same philosophies, behaviors or whatever as you then you can't have a good experience because it seems like nothing meets your expectations. However if you accept and expect the differences in others then it really isn't that big of a deal. You know you will meet people who do things in ways or for reasons that don't match yours, then you open the doors to learning new things and seething other people's perspectives.
@diamania (7028)
• Netherlands
25 Dec 09
In the list of "3. Revert to "end all debate" comments as opposed to reason." I believe an addition like comments on religion should also be added. A lot of people tend to use their religious beliefs as an excuse to disagree even before they research things from a non-religious point of view and possibly adjust their opinion after research. Or they could show more understanding for other people's opinions and beliefs that way. I hope what I tried to convey is clear, English isn't my first language making conveying things quite difficult.
• United States
25 Dec 09
Hey diamania, What you wrote was very clear.:) The third example listed under "Revert to "End all debate" comments as opposed to reason" that says "Because [insert scripture here] says so" is for religion. I left that space because any religion, or religious work (Koran, Bible, Torah, etc.) could be used in an attempt to stop people from talking about something. Do you think there is another area I missed? Or something else you would add?
• Mexico
25 Dec 09
Hi diamania: I understand what you've said. And well actually it's almost everything on your list. I have made my own opinion about some of these arguments that really annoy me because they are no good for a debate and to discuss abou how rational are our ideas. Thanks for your answer. Hope you are having a nice day. Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays. Take care. -Alvaro.
@kafueenu (1073)
• Philippines
26 Dec 09
Number three is very amusing and very true hehe. Especially about the parents thing, my parents are very controlling so I can relate to that.
• United States
26 Dec 09
I have a little cousin who is very, smart and articulate. She is only five, and on more than one occasion stumped an adult relative by pointing out how silly a rule is. Often this reduces her dad to using that "I said so line". Its funny to see how frustrated people can get when asked rational questions they can't really explain (I think part of this is that a lot of people have a hard time admitting they don't know something), or don't feel like explaining. I think sometimes we fail to recall how eager we were once to understand things. The downside to this is that when we constantly respond to a child with "because I said so" it can destroy their natural curiosity. I think that's a very sad thing.
@tawny_24 (351)
• United States
26 Dec 09
I knew that when I joined this site that the problems that arise between different people because if communication style or level, or differing points of view would be a present if not prevelant "negative". But this is a condensed version of society as a whole. I doubt that one out and about in a setting like a college campus or the line at a grocery store or anywhere for that matter would go thier whole lives or in some cases a whole day or even an hour or two without running into some one or engaging someone in conversation who didn't totally agree about everything. I always try to acknowledge the fact that we may not agree or even get along, and that some of my statements may offend. Dealing with people means dealing with all of the issues you cited in your opening discussion. Debate is debate not conversation, and when two people have a conversation there is no guarantee that they will have congruent opinions, experiences, or what have you. There are simple solutions. One being get over it. Two leave the people who are openly hostile to themselves. Three accept other's views as thier own, you don't have to beleive or agree or even engage if it makes you upset. I had a mentor who told me that when we have a problem wit other people it is usually because we have that same tendancy with in our own psyche and we don't like that tendancy very much, so we project it on to others. The best thing to do is to work on it. In this case that tendancy is to dislike other peoples communication styles, methods or level of discourse. The best thing to do is learn as much as you can about communication. It won't improve others but it will improve you, which means you will have greater tools to deal with the issues that arise when dealing with people.