The Poetry Question

Discovering the Relevance of Words

QOTD – July 17 – When Do You Stop Arguing?

calvin_arguing

The other day I got into an argument with someone whom I respect. He’s a decade younger, but well-educated, and very passionate about his beliefs, the way in which he feels his students should be taught, and is one of the most well-spoken people I’ve ever encountered. He posted something on Twitter, and I took it as a sincere request for help on how to reach certain students in his classroom; so, being a decade into my teaching career, and feeling as though I’m quite knowledgable on the subject, I responded.

Unfortunately, he didn’t like my response. Which is fair. People don’t have to like everything I say or recommend. But instead of attempting to have a discussion about it, he jumped straight into an argument. We exchanged messages for the better part of thirty minutes, and I felt – as did he – that there was simply no one listening on the other end. Eventually, he ran out of things to say, and turned it into a personal attack. I tried hard to stray from getting defensive, and instead answered his attack to the best of my ability, before he simply decided he was done, and blocked me from his account. That was his way of ending the conversation. Or so I thought.

He continued to argue his case after blocking me, and while I couldn’t respond, I thought it was a bit silly to see someone air their frustrations without any allowance for response.

The internet has allowed for people to hit the block button, and literally shut out the other person from a conversation or argument. It’s the new slamming down of the phone, or talk-to-the-hand gesture. The new generation doesn’t have to deal with facing an argument anymore. There’s no walking away, and then having to confront the situation later. Unless they lift the “block” – which essentially means they are giving up, and admitting fault, or saying they agree to disagree – they never have to deal with it again.

We’ve all gotten into arguments, and we’ve all taken some of those arguments too far.

So, the Question of the Day:

When do you stop arguing?

About Christopher Margolin

Chris Margolin spent more than a decade in Education as a high school English teacher, and is now an Instructional Coach for the Longview School District. He is also the founder of The Poetry Question, an online journal which focuses on reviews of small press poetry publications, and runs a regular series called "The Power of Poetry," where notable poets share their personal stories of how poetry has affected their lives. Margolin resides in Vancouver, Washington with his wife, and daughter.

6 comments on “QOTD – July 17 – When Do You Stop Arguing?

  1. Honey Britches
    July 17, 2013

    I stopped arguing when I realized that it was only my pride and my fear that led me to “argue” instead of “discuss.” Here’s the poem I wrote about the day I was arguing with my boyfriend (now husband) and realized what I needed to do to stop. The hardest part is that once you realize it for yourself, you can’t make other people realize it for themselves. So while I refuse to argue with anyone now, I can’t always stop others from trying to argue with me! : )

    I’m on my knees
    I’m not getting up
    I’ve finally learned
    love doesn’t stand and face off . . .
    or want a lover to give in.

    I’m on my knees
    I’m not getting up
    I’ve finally learned
    the feet which once saved my life
    now only lead me away
    from things I want
    but fear I cannot have.

    I’m on my knees
    I’m not getting up
    not like I have before
    never again
    I’ve found a man
    willing to kneel with me.

    I’m on my knees
    I’m not getting up
    I’ve finally learned
    we are happiest
    eye to eye

    on our knees.

  2. J. Gabriel Allan
    July 17, 2013

    We should stop argue before the argument can even begin.
    We should dialogue, we should discuss, we should listen
    We should understand and seek only to be understood.

    We Should.

    I wish I did. I wish I could.

  3. Doran Simmons
    July 17, 2013

    I find that if you follow the horrible personal attacks that arguments inevitably turn into with a winky face emoticon, you can later claim you didn’t really mean it.
    (Word of warning, this only works in online arguments with dumb people.)

    There is no way to retain any sort of dignity in a heated argument. No matter how right your argument may be, you will come off looking like nothing so much as a shirtless trailer resident with a pixelated face being wrestled to the ground by state troopers.

    At the same time, verbally loosing it all over somebody can be very cathartic.

    We all need to learn not to take things so personally.

  4. The Running Son
    July 17, 2013

    Ha. Ready for this question too.

    Let’s rather talk about two kinds of anger: Indignation and defensive anger.

    a righteous Indignation is a justified anger, arising naturally. As such, it has a span, or a natural length. In minutes (or whatever) it will play out, and subside. The argument with the other person(s) is then over.

    Defensive anger is the ego in an agitated state. It is born of the fear of defeat, or loss, or the fear of engulfment, or abandonment. It protects fragility, and seeks to destructively influence the other. It protects an illusory identity. It *forces* things and people instead of responding, and reacts instead of trying to understand, or communicate.

    So the time to stop arguing… either when indignation runs it’s course, or when we first detect our ego turning defensive/destructive.

    Haha Here endeth the Epistle.

    RunningSon
    Jim (;

  5. kiwiskan
    July 17, 2013

    When you know that no-one is going to win. Wish our world politicians would realise this

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This entry was posted on July 17, 2013 by in Question of the Day and tagged , , , , , .

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