How to ar­gue with an adult

The Covington News - - Crime - DAVE MCCOY

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 be- ing 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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