Should We Argue? Or Should We Not?


The people I argue most with are those that I care about, family and friends. I don’t have a wife – alas, I’m too young for that – but if I’d have one, I suspect I would argue with her the most. It seems to me that the closer you are to a person, the most likely you are to argue with her.

Arguing, like war, seems to be an aspect of humankind that will endure forever. It’s not only unintelligent people who argue, but smart people too, doctors, lawyers, businessmen, scientists, politicians. One would expect great minds to be above arguing, but I would say that the smarter the people involved are, the more intense and complicated the argument will be. In Romania, for example, everyone argues about everything all the time, on the street, in the papers, on the radio, even in literary works.

“Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.” ― John Milton, Areopagitica

Arguing appears to be unavoidable so long as you live near other people. But what interests me most is whether arguments should be pursued or abandoned with the first opportunity. I don’t speak about squabbles, but about important arguments, those in which someone contradicts an idea that is an intrinsic part of you. Like whether or not you should give money to beggars. Should you argue for your belief – is it strong enough to warrant that? – or should you say ‘okay, whatever,’ and go away?

Standing your ground is the brave thing to do, but going away often yields the best result – the argument doesn’t have the opportunity to take root, and by the time you meet again, neither of you will remember it. The downside is that no ideas will be developed, and although you avoid a verbal – possibly physical? – encounter, you’re none the wiser for it.

“Take no thought of who is right or wrong or who is better than. Be not for or against.” ― Bruce Lee

Ah! But what if you can argue with someone without making enemies? Then your arguing becomes for both of you a debate, a process that develops new ideas, changes views, and challenges stubbornness. Let’s mention now Hegelian philosophy…

An idea is proposed, the thesis. Another idea is then proposed, which challenges the first, the antithesis. The argument then is resolved through a synthesis, which takes the best parts from the conflicting ideas to reach a conclusion that should pacify both sides.

“Any woman who is sure of her own wits, is a match, at any time, for a man who is not sure of his own temper.” ― Wilkie Collins, The Woman in White

If I ever marry, I’d like a wife with whom I can argue positively. Not someone who says yes to everything I propose, and not someone who cajoles me into saying yes to everything she proposes. But someone who through her sound arguments can change my ideas and views, and who, at the same time, can let herself be influenced by my strongest views and ideas. Someone strong, but also flexible. Someone who, like justice, truth, and steel, can bend but never break.


Should we argue with the people we care about? Or should we avoid arguments?

30 thoughts on “Should We Argue? Or Should We Not?

  1. great post. i believe in having different ideas to allow progress towards a goal or creative endeavor. the world is blessed with a diversity of gifts and minds and i cannot imagine a world where everyone thinks exactly the same.

    however, i don’t necessarily believe that the closer you are to someone, the more you would argue, as i’ve seen it in several long-term couples who eventually got to a generally better harmony and understanding of their differences (not to be mistaken with indifference in life/learning/each other).

    i don’t necessarily see it as “being able to change someone” or “letting yourself be influenced”. i do agree that many couples or any two or more people in a close relationship(s) might have to go through that phase of “arguing” before they get into a more harmonious state, especially if they come from very different backgrounds. still i have observed that two very different people could somehow eventually get into a place where their views are not too different.

    personally, i don’t have a problem with changing or losing “long-held beliefs or biases”, if i realized the other person is truly right, and his or her views are more grounded on love than on being right.

  2. This is a great post and it sounds like you will one day have a solid and respectful marriage. I have a very dear friend who is much different then me but through “debate” we have learned a lot and both had our ideas challenged!!

  3. I like this line: “not someone who cajoles me into saying yes to everything she proposes”. Some women can be good at that 😉 But yes, arguing is healthy, if it is between grown ups. Otherwise it just descends into petty squalling and that is when one needs to walk away. The day I knew I had found love was the day I realised I could argue my point with someone strong enough, and big enough, to take it…and vice versa, I think. And we are both the better for it…that’s the key!

  4. I think a key component here is fear. Some people are afraid to argue due to the fact that their perspective may be changed unwillingly by the other person. It’s scary to have others reject what you believe to be the truth. In my opinion that is what makes arguing difficult – knowing that you may be following a false truth.

  5. The wise person argues with an open mind. To discount another person’s views because they are not your own is foolishness. Unless, of course, you’re arguing over the shape of a cloud. In that case, whoever says “heart” always wins.

  6. I completely agree. Arguing is a GOOD thing, by keeping things bottled up inside we are only growing in resentment.

    Merely by being honest when something comes up that bothers you, you can avoid much greater arguments later. But a spat for the sake of it is neither helpful for the situation nor your relationship.

    If you’re getting annoyed about your other half’s smelly feet, sometimes it’s best to let a few slide (and maybe suggest some foot-spray subtly) …

  7. Ever since I can remember, I got emotional facing different believes and always managed to keep my cool. I’m a diplomat, I think. But what was wonderful about it all, is I could faithfully and courageously explain my opinions, and get an amazing conversation from the different opinions I was facing. I think nothing develops you and teaches you more than facing differences. It affects you character, it makes you more humble. Of course, about arguing… when it comes to important issues with people you love, you mustn’t hold back to speak. When it comes to strangers, it’s sometimes even wiser to just walk away.

    One study showed that women should scream because its better for their physical health. Ones who keep the emotions inside are likely to develop many sicknesses.

    1. Good points.

      Mother can scream she can.

      As to me… emotions locked inside + low exposure to sunlight + pasta diet + literary ambitions + love woes = …

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