Once upon a time, I thought that the best way to handle a disagreement with someone was to argue my side of the issue. Prove my point. Give the facts. Share my opinion. Make my case.
Over the years, I’ve learned that there is a difference between an intelligent discussion and arguing with idiots. The first leaves you both a bit more enlightened about the other’s views; the latter just leaves you exhausted.
Arguing with people who like to argue only leads to one thing: an argument. And it’s one you can never win, because there are some people who make it their mission in life to argue, regardless of the issue or even if they have an opinion on the issue. They ignore the facts, they disregard the truth, they change their stance in order to continue the argument. They just want to engage in verbal combat, whether it’s politics, religion or the proper way to inflate the tires on your car.
It’s easy to get sucked in, to get frustrated, and to feed the conflict. Instead, I’ve mastered the art of disengaging. I smile, take a deep breath, and walk away. Even when I know I’m right. Even when I have the facts on my side. Even if walking away means I may look weak for not making my case.
Because I’ve learned this important truth: in the end, the idiot will always be revealed as the idiot he is, and it’s better not to even be on that stage when the curtain rises.
This post is part of my series, “50 thoughts on turning 50″. Read more here.