10 psychological tricks that will give you the upper hand in any argument

We sometimes include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate disclosure.

Ever felt like you’re losing out in arguments?

Wish you had a trick up your sleeve to help you win?

Well, get ready as I’m about to reveal 10 cool tips from psychology that can help you hold your own in any argument.

These are real techniques that anyone can learn and apply.

The tips will come in handy whether you’re having a tough talk with your boss, a disagreement with a friend, or even trying to get a better deal on a car.

Let’s get started.

1. Understand the Other Person’s Perspective

The first and possibly most important psychological trick to get the upper hand in any argument is empathy.

Sounds simple, right?

But you’d be surprised how often we forget to do this.

When we argue, we’re often so focused on getting our own points across that we forget to think about where the other person is coming from.

Understanding their perspective doesn’t mean you have to agree with them, but it can help you see why they feel the way they do.

Ask yourself: “Why might they feel this way? What experiences or beliefs could be influencing their point of view?”

This can give you a better understanding of their stance, and it might even give you fresh angles for your own arguments!

2. Stay Cool and Collected

Ever heard the saying, “keep your cool while others lose theirs”?

This is crucial when you’re in an argument.

If you lose your temper, you’re likely to say things you’ll regret later. Plus, it makes you look less reasonable and more emotional – not the best combo if you’re trying to win an argument.

So, how do you stay cool?

Deep breaths can help.

If you feel yourself getting heated, take a moment to breathe in deeply, hold it for a few seconds, and then exhale slowly.

This simple act can help lower your heart rate and calm your mind.

3. Use ‘I’ Statements Rather Than ‘You’ Statements

Here’s a simple yet powerful switch that can make all the difference in an argument. Instead of starting your sentences with ‘you’, which can come off as accusatory and put the other person on the defensive, use ‘I’ statements.

For example, instead of saying, “You never listen to me,” try saying, “I feel like I’m not being heard when I speak.” It’s a small change, but it can keep the conversation from escalating into a full-blown fight.

Let me share a personal story with you. Once, I was having a disagreement with my friend about how we were planning our road trip. I felt she was making all the decisions without considering my input. Initially, I wanted to say, “You’re just doing what you want without thinking about what I want.”

But instead, I took a deep breath and said, “I feel like my opinions aren’t being considered in this planning process.”

The change was immediate. The conversation shifted from an argument to a discussion, and we were able to find a middle ground that worked for both of us.

‘I’ statements can help express your feelings without blaming or accusing the other person, keeping the argument from getting too heated while still getting your point across.

4. Listen More Than You Speak

It might seem counterintuitive, but sometimes, the best way to win an argument is to listen more than you speak.

When we’re engaged in a heated discussion, our natural instinct is often to defend our position and make sure our voice is heard. But here’s the thing: If we’re too busy talking, we might miss out on understanding the other person’s point of view.

Active listening shows respect for the other person’s opinions and makes them more likely to listen to you in return. So, give them space to express their thoughts without interrupting.

Here’s an interesting fact: According to a study by Harvard Business School, people who ask more questions during a conversation are perceived as more likable. The study found that asking follow-up questions, in particular, signals to the other person that you’re not just hearing, but truly listening to them.

This can help establish a connection and make them more receptive to your arguments.

5. Seek to Understand, Not Just to Win

This one is more about your mindset going into an argument. If your sole aim is to win at all costs, you might end up winning the battle but losing the war. That’s because a victory won by bulldozing the other person can damage your relationship in the long run.

So instead, enter each argument with the goal of understanding the other person’s viewpoint and finding common ground. This doesn’t mean you have to abandon your own perspective or agree with theirs, but it does require a willingness to see things from their perspective.

Consider this: Many of us are quick to judge or dismiss others’ opinions if they don’t align with our own. But remember that everyone’s opinion is shaped by their own unique experiences and perspectives. So, even if you disagree with them, their view is just as valid to them as yours is to you.

In essence, arguing doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game where one person wins and the other loses. Instead, it can be an opportunity for both parties to learn, grow and come to a mutual understanding.

This heartfelt approach not only gives you a higher chance of resolving the issue at hand but also strengthens your relationship in the process.

6. Avoid Absolutes

When you’re in the heat of an argument, it’s easy to get carried away and start using absolute terms like “always” and “never.” But absolutes can make the other person feel attacked and defensive, which can escalate the argument instead of resolving it.

Here’s a personal example. I once had a disagreement with my brother about sharing household chores. Frustrated, I found myself saying, “You never help me with the dishes!” Immediately, I could see him shutting down and getting defensive. And no wonder – I was accusing him of never helping, which wasn’t entirely true.

Realizing my mistake, I decided to rephrase my statement and said, “I feel overwhelmed with doing the dishes alone all the time. Could you please help me out more often?” The change in his response was immediate and positive.

7. Admit When You’re Wrong

No one likes to be wrong. But let’s face it, we all mess up sometimes – it’s part of being human. The problem is, when we’re in an argument, our pride often gets in the way of admitting our mistakes. We dig in our heels and defend our stance, even when we know deep down that we’re in the wrong.

Here’s the truth: Stubbornly sticking to your guns when you’re clearly wrong doesn’t make you look strong or smart – it just makes you look, well, stubborn. And it won’t get you any closer to resolving the argument.

On the other hand, admitting when you’re wrong shows maturity and respect for the truth. It demonstrates that you value your relationship with the other person more than your ego. It can also take the wind out of the sails of an escalating argument and steer it towards a more productive resolution.

So, swallow your pride. If you realize during an argument that you’ve made a mistake or misunderstood something, own up to it. It might be tough in the moment, but in the long run, it can save a lot of unnecessary conflict and hard feelings.

8. Use Silence Strategically

Silence is a powerful tool in an argument that many of us often overlook. When used correctly, it can shift the dynamics of the conversation and even put you in control.

When you’re silent, it forces the other person to fill the void, often causing them to reveal more about their thoughts and feelings. This can give you more insights into their perspective and provide you with valuable information that you can use to shape your arguments.

Now, here’s a fascinating fact: According to a study published in the Journal of Applied Sciences, people are more likely to reveal hidden information when faced with periods of silence. The researchers found that silence made participants feel uncomfortable, prompting them to talk more.

But remember, the goal here isn’t to make the other person uncomfortable or manipulate them. The aim is to encourage deeper conversation and understanding. So next time you’re in an argument, try pausing for a moment and allowing silence to do some of the work for you.

9. Focus on the Issue, Not the Person

In the heat of an argument, it can be easy to start attacking the person instead of addressing the real issue at hand.

But personal attacks only lead to hurt feelings and more conflict, not resolution.

Here’s a personal experience. A while back, I was arguing with a friend about a project we were working on together. I was frustrated with how things were going and found myself saying, “You’re so disorganized, it’s impossible to work with you!”

As soon as the words left my mouth, I regretted them. My friend looked hurt, and the argument quickly spiraled from discussing the project into defending personal traits.

I took a step back and apologized, then refocused on the issue. “I’m sorry,” I said. “What I meant is that I’m feeling overwhelmed because our project feels disorganized. Can we work out a better system together?”

10. Know When to Walk Away

Let’s be honest: not every argument is worth having.

Sometimes, the best thing you can do is to simply walk away.

If the argument is going in circles, getting heated, or it’s clear that neither of you is going to change your stance, it’s okay to suggest taking a break, or even dropping the subject altogether.

Your time and emotional well-being are precious – don’t waste them on fruitless debates.

Did you like my article? Like me on Facebook to see more articles like this in your feed.

Justin Brown

Justin Brown is an entrepreneur and thought leader in personal development and digital media, with a foundation in education from The London School of Economics and The Australian National University. As the co-founder of Ideapod, The Vessel, and a director at Brown Brothers Media, Justin has spearheaded platforms that significantly contribute to personal and collective growth. His deep insights are shared on his YouTube channel, JustinBrownVids, offering a rich blend of guidance on living a meaningful and purposeful life.

8 signs you’re a better husband than you give yourself credit for

10 brutal truths about life you should have learned from your parents but probably didn’t