At our house, the phrase “Don’t Push the Argue Button” started as a behavioral strategy to help my son, Evan. He is extremely oppositional and responds to most anything with “No!”, regardless of whether or not it’s true. For example, we’ll play the slug bug game (you know, the one where you tap someone every time you see a Volkswagen Beetle), and the first thing he’ll say when someone else sees one is, “no, that’s not a slug bug!” We have tried debating and discussing, we have tried convincing and negotiating, but if Evan doesn’t want to change his mind, we’re fighting an unwinnable battle. The worst part is, we’re the ones who continue to get frustrated! Hence the phrase, “Don’t Push the Argue Button”. Our entire family has to remind each other that some things just aren’t that important and certainly not worth the argument.
Are there people in your life who bring out the argumentative side of you? Do you ever have a conversation and want to scream at the other person for not getting it? Sometimes, it feels like you might as well be talking to the wind, telling it to stop blowing. It just doesn’t work.
“Don’t Push The Argue Button” has actually helped our entire family. There are numerous occasions when I have to tell myself to stop pushing the argue button! I’m not suggesting that conflict should be avoided. In fact, conflict is a healthy and necessary part of relationships, both personally and professionally. Canadian research has proven that conflict, when managed properly, can actually benefit an organization and be a catalyst for better solutions, innovations, and increased motivation, just to name a few. That doesn’t mean, however, that every point should be debated.
The next time you are in a discussion, with yourself or someone else (yes, I do argue with myself), and you find yourself getting reared up, stop and ask yourself if arguing the issue is really worth your time and energy. After all, we only have a certain amount of energy to spend, and just like time, we can’t get it back.