85 – Know When to End Discussion

You have permission to end a discussion and move on. This doesn’t require walking away from a conversation, but at least change the subject, take action, or refuse to stay on the topic further.

Watch for people who want to keep pushing their point until they convince you—as if you need to keep listening to their arguments and defensive reasons until you agree with them. It’s a childish tactic to as, “Why?” as a way of changing the answer.

Explaining yourself can help other people to learn; to that end, be liberal in sharing the reasons behind your actions. Don’t be contentious or condescending. When someone asks you, “Why?” give your answer kindly, quickly, and matter-of-factly, all while you move on in your action. If you depend on compliance from the person asking, move on in other ways, making sure the person gets the message that you’re not waiting for them to agree with you.

In matters of opinion, where no immediate action is needed, move to declare the discussion at an impasse. All to often, the reason someone doesn’t agree with you is not because they haven’t listened to you enough, but because they don’t want to agree. Such contenders will likely think that you don’t agree with them because you haven’t listened to them enough. Don’t filibuster each other’s day. Either they are wrong or you are wrong, in either case drop it.

Never argue with a question’s answer. When you ask a question, accept the answer; don’t start telling the other person why the answer was wrong. You don’t know what someone else’s answer is better than that person. Just the same, no one else knows your answer to a question better than you know your answer to a question. When people ask you a question and try to argue with your answer, grab a stick and draw a line in the sand, right while they’re still talking: Simply repeat their question in reverse person.

“‘Why do I do that?’ Did I satisfy your curiosity?”

Perhaps you didn’t. If not, satisfy their curiosity, then you will be able to peacefully end discussion by happily changing the topic or smiling and leaving.