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When you argue with someone, is your goal to make them shut up?

@Flumberbug No. It's to gain mutual understanding and acknowledgement of points of view.

@JessSloan That's really laudable. Alas, I think you're in a tiny minority.

@Flumberbug A) Had to look up the definition of laudable so thank you for making me learn stuff :)

B) I sincerely hope not. I think most people, when they get in an argument, are searching for the other person to hear them. Admittedly, when you're in an argument, or watching one, it can often look like neither party wants to be heard. I think, though, both parties are really asking "are you listening". But people forget to listen because they're vulnerable and it's scary.

@JessSloan I agree that arguers want their opposition to listen to them. But they often don't afford their opponents this same level of respect.

One example is when people don't respond to any of the points their opponents make, but rather plow forward with their own talking points. All offence, no defence.

I would love you to be right that people endeavour to understand each other. I haven't seen this happen very often, though. Listening challenges your core beliefs, so people avoid it.

@Flumberbug I agree. That's what I meant when I said that people forget to listen. Which I think happens out of fear that their hurt is being heard.

I also think this is an issue which has been worse since the introduction of social media which has shortened attention spans, leaving much less room for people to listen.

In the end I hope more people decide to take more time to listen more and speak less.

@JessSloan Oh, okay. Perhaps I misunderstood you a bit.

I think our only disagreement is over whether people forget to listen to their opponents or whether they willfully avoid it.

I agree that social media exacerbates the problem. Not only has it shortened attention spans--it's also gave us gigantic communities with tenuous bonds between people. Small, tight-knit communities tend to encourage more civility.

@Flumberbug Yes, I definitely disagree that people are inherently malicious and that they wilfully decide not to listen.

I think people don't spend enough time thinking before speaking / typing in general which provides the impression that they don't care. And, admittedly, that's shitty and self-absorbed. If people spent more time using empathy, and less time pushing their own agendas, communication would be easier.

Flumberbug @Flumberbug

@JessSloan I don't believe people are malicious. Just that we fight dirty when we argue. It's like a sport, more about winning than seeking truth. That means incessantly attacking, never acknowledging your opponent could have a point.

I agree, people should think more before they talk. That would make communication much more civil and effective.

@Flumberbug I think it depends on the circumstances. If you're arguing with strangers on the internet - yes, it's often about winning. If you're arguing with someone you trust and care about - it's about attempting to connect, be heard, and be acknowledged.

@JessSloan I agree it's worse on the internet. But I think people do it even with close friends and family. Particularly when there's something at stake, like a slice of power in the relationship.

When people in an argument simply want to connect and be acknowledged and understood, I'd say they have a pretty healthy relationship. Most relationships aren't that healthy.