Originally written for New Express, a major Chinese newspaper…
When people are arguing with you, they have a few different types of arguments. The first, and defiantly the one I prefer to be in, is a logical argument. It’s the kind of argument where you are discussing what is correct or incorrect based on what information you have. It’s the kind of argument you can win if you know more information, and if you know less about the topic then it’s easy to surrender, accept what you learn, and leave more enlightened then when you came.
But then there is the next type of argument, the emotional argument. I hate this kind of argument, it’s the kind where I like to present a very logical argument and whoever is arguing with me (my wife) ignores my logic and adds on another reason to get mad at me. Emotional arguments for me generally go this way: I’m doing something which is logically a good idea, like relaxing after a long days work with my friends by going out to the bar to chat and maybe drink. Unwinding after a lot of work is important, and doing so makes sense to me, but my wife always finds a hole in it. She’s not always happy if I’m at the bar with friends, and even unhappy when my hard day of work and relaxing evening happens to be on a Holiday that I forgot.
“Eric, you should spend more time with me,” she will say, and I will answer back, “sweaty, if I am not working, then 90% of the free time is with you.” Unfortunately it’s not enough because she’s angry and an emotional argument can’t give into logic. She will answer back to me that she wants’ me near, or she hates beer, or she misses me, or so on, always looking for an emotional response. Being a man, it sometimes takes me a while to realize this and I keep using logic to try and win, but I always lose. Luckily, I found the solution, the best solution, to an emotional argument. Treat her negative emotion, with a positive emotion, don’t argue, but take her out the ice cream. This works, and it has worked for me over and over again. The last time I was in an argument with her I took her out for ice cream again, as soon as she saw it she said, “No, every time we fight you just give me ice cream.” “Ok, sorry,” Sorry I replied, I won’t do it again, and I didn’t, instead I took her out for chocolate.