Of course, I don't want to avoid arguments only with my two-year old. I also want to "keep the peace" in other areas of my life. For example, I walked into the office on Monday fully expecting to be hit with a barrage of arguments. I'm a Drake Bulldog in an office full of Creighton Bluejays. After Creighton's Missouri Valley Conference title win last weekend, I was expecting the worst. Yet I knew that Principle #10 was the name of the game this week ("The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it, Marisa. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it, Marisa..."). So I decided beforehand that I would be gracious and complimentary. When someone approached me about the game, I would tell them "congratulations" and "it's good news for Omaha." The result? Not one person approached me! Maybe the "forces that be" protect a person that takes the time to prepare a non-argumentative strategy. More likely, my co-workers left me alone because it's the thick of tax season and they have no time for such frivoulous things!
Regardless, I learned something. When possible, it's helpful to prepare for an "argument" by thinking through how you can respond in a non-argumentive manner (aka: how you can avoid the argument altogether). In Dale Carnegie, we call this process "how to disagree agreeably." I have found that when I respond in an agreeable way it keeps relationships intact while also giving me more confidence and clarity. And who wouldn't like a little more confidence and clarity in life?!