How Not to Sound Rude, While Arguing?

Arguments arise due to various reasons, such as conflicting interests, differing opinions, or simple miscommunications that lead to misunderstandings. Regardless of the cause, it is crucial to approach arguments with a constructive mindset and transform them into productive discussions. How can you achieve this? What strategies can you employ to avoid being rude during arguments?

What are the ways not to sound rude, when arguing?

Let us explore a few techniques to maintain civility in discussions, drawing insights from Cafe Converse, Delhi’s leading institute for learning spoken English for professionals.

1. Listen carefully

When emotions are high, it’s important to reduce the intensity first. Allow the person to express themselves without interruption. Simply listen, using phrases like “I get that” or “I understand.” Avoid judgment or assigning blame. Critical listening, which involves assessing information in real time, is crucial. Ask yourself if what you’re hearing is true, makes sense, and is trustworthy. Apply critical listening when receiving feedback, such as from a teacher or boss. When in a debate, don’t dismiss everything your opponent says; look for valid points to address or acknowledge. Be confident in your arguments, but remain open-minded to recognize strengths in opposing views.

2. Choice of Words

When dealing with conflicts, the words you use really matter. Even if your intentions are good, what you say can either make things worse or help calm the situation. Whether it’s a disagreement with a colleague, boss, or family member, the way you express yourself can either build understanding or create more problems. In heated moments, it’s important to be careful with your words. Avoid using inflammatory language or making personal attacks. Instead, try to express your thoughts clearly and respectfully.

3. Apply the 5-second Rule

When someone attacks your beliefs or actions in an argument, your body instinctively gears up for a “fight or flight” response. This means you might get emotional, bypass logical thinking, and feel the urge to react aggressively, like shouting or worse. However, you probably don’t want to act on these impulses. A helpful strategy is to pause for just 5 seconds before responding. This short delay aligns with the “five-second rule,” a concept suggesting that after this brief pause, your rational brain kicks in, calming your emotional reactions. This can prevent you from making impulsive and potentially regrettable decisions, whether in arguments or when facing procrastination. So, taking that short pause can be a simple yet effective way to maintain composure and make more thoughtful choices.

4. Discover Shared Ground

Look for commonalities to build a basis for agreement. Cafe Converse underscores the importance of identifying shared values or goals, as it can serve as a unifying force even in the midst of disagreement.  Focusing on what we have in common, rather than our differences, encourages understanding and collaboration.

5. Empathise with the opponent first

When we argue, we often defend our position strongly, convinced of our own correctness. Any opposing claim from the other person is seen as an error on their part, and we may insist that they correct themselves without hesitation. However, it’s essential to consider the perspective of the person we’re arguing with. By attentively listening, you convey respect for their opinion, encouraging mutual understanding which allows you to have a more constructive dialogue, as opposed to the unproductive noise and tension that arise when both parties insist on yelling.6. Accept your mistake

Acknowledge when you’re wrong; it’s a tough but crucial step. It’s okay not to always be right. Admitting your mistakes shows strength, not weakness. When you accept your errors, it can soften the opposing stance and lead to a more peaceful resolution. It might even prompt the other person to reconsider their argument. Persisting in an argument when you know you’re wrong can bring guilt while admitting your mistake alleviates that guilt. So, embrace the strength in admitting when you’re wrong, and aim for peaceful resolutions in arguments.

Now that you know the valuable techniques of maintaining calm while arguing remember that effective communication is a skill honed through patience, empathy, and self-reflection. Choose words wisely, pause before reacting, seek common ground, empathize, and don’t shy away from admitting mistakes. In doing so, conversations become bridges, not battlegrounds.    

Sonu Goel leading English Coach Teacher IELTS coach

Ms Sonu Goel is a professionally acclaimed certified ESL trainer from the British Council having 15 years of strong background for teaching the English language in both online and physical classes. She is dedicated to teaching of English in an interactive and practical way, whereby learners feel enriched with knowledge and experience the language hands-on. She uses creative ideas and aids to let the learning happen as organically and efficiently as possible. Ms Goel has travelled to various European countries and experienced an array of cultures and linguistic skills for the English language.

To learn more about Sonu Goel please visit :

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