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Posted: September 1, 2012 6:58 p.m.

How to argue with an adult

Hey, kids! Last week I wrote about the art of arguing, but I used some Latin terms and talked about the decline of society, so you probably assumed it was "old people advice." Well, it was. How about if I use this column just for you? How would you like a few tricks to use when arguing with adults?

Yeah, that does sound cool, and if you follow this advice, you'll have a far greater chance of getting what you want out of life. Adults rarely get what we want, but don't let that depress you. If someone had given me a column like this, I'd probably be a king or head chef on some island somewhere. So keep that youthful optimism and practice these tricks.

The first rule about arguing with adults is to never remind them of your age. You might think it's a point in your favor when you say, "Come on, Dad! I'm 16!" but adults don't see it that way. Why, you might as well say, "Come on, Dad! I have a fever of 105, and I think I just swallowed the cat!" Most adults were 16 once, and they don't look back on those days as shining examples of intellectual brilliance. In fact, your actual age doesn't matter. If you're arguing with a 90 year old, it doesn't help to say, "Come on, Dad! I'm 64!" Nope. Never mention your age if you're arguing with someone older.
The second rule about arguing with adults is to never threaten us unless you can back it up. Nothing harms your position in an argument quicker than you threatening to...say...not make your bed. Do you even know how to make your bed? I didn't think so. This next rule about arguing with adults is the best trick of all: let the adult win a point. Here's how it works. When the adult says something, instead of responding with a sarcastic comment, just stroke your chin, and say, "That's a very good point you just made. I'll have to ponder that a bit." Then watch and listen. Most adults aren't ready for "the old stroke and ponder" trick.

Adults aren't used to being agreed with. It goes back to my earlier point...about rarely getting what we want. We'll be so confused, we'll probably give you whatever you want and make your bed for you.

David McCoy, a notorious storyteller and proud Yellow Jacket, lives in Covington and can be reached at davmccoy@bellsouth.net.

 

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