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In the contemporary era, an age dominated by digital discourse, an ancient proverb resonates with profound significance: “Engaging in debate with a fool only invites a descent into their realm, where their profound ignorance may outwit you.” This timeless wisdom gains fresh relevance as denizens of online communities recount their remarkable encounters with individuals whose actions scarcely merit consideration. Through these anecdotes, a universal lesson emerges—a reminder that there are occasions when the wisest course of action is to maintain silence and gracefully proceed, recognizing that not every interaction merits the expenditure of one’s precious time and energy.
1. Confusing Silence with Winning an Ongoing Argument
One user shares a common tactic for arguing: “My mom’s entire argument tactic was to interrupt the other person as soon as they open their mouth.
It didn’t matter if you were calm and reasonable and respectful. The moment sound came out of you, she would come in with greater volume. She usually didn’t have much to say, so she would literally repeat herself just to interrupt you.
Even if you paused and let her speak, if she was out of stuff to say, she would wait quietly until you try to talk again, then interrupt you with something she already said. She wasn’t even subtle about what she was doing.
She was prideful about how great of a debater she was. She thought this childish and disrespectful crap actually made her strong and respectable. I don’t think she ever realized that she didn’t actually win any arguments, but simply wore the other person down until they gave up on a constructive adult conversation with her.”
Other Redditors agreed, pointing out that just because the other person went silent due to a barrage of words does not mean they “won.”
2. Discussing Tax Rates
There is a myth that getting a raise can result in making less money due to tax brackets. One employer on Reddit finds it exhausting when he continually tries to explain that it’s not true. A Redditor explains why this isn’t true, but people always argue about it.
“Ultra simplistic answer using made up numbers:
You see this tax chart
$1 – $50,000: 7%
$50,001 – $100,000: 10%
What many people believe is that if they make $50,000 in a year they will pay 7% on all of it, or $3500. If they make $50,001 then they will pay 10% on all of it, or $5000. So if someone is close to the line they will refuse a raise believing it will cost them more in additional taxes than they would make in the raise.
Reality is that the chart shows what portion of your income is taxed at what rate. So in the $50,001 scenario, the person is paying the sme 7% on the $50,000, and 10% only on the $1.”
3. People Who Are Cruel to the Core
Sadly, more than one user shared stories of people’s obliviousness to their own cruelty. One story from an officer was: “I know someone who legitimately stood up in the middle of a meeting about her child abuse, IN the child protection offices and yelled at everyone the child deserved to be stabbed because she knew not to play operation so loud.” It’s not worth talking to someone in that mental space.
4. Arguing About Placebos is Tiring
Many writers have stopped trying to argue with anyone that “believes” in remedies like homeopathy. These have been found to be effective because of a placebo (the belief that hey work), and not anything else. One user shares, “I’ve had this argument [about homeopathy], but unfortunately it was with a guy who will work 18 hours at full speed for days on end. Hard to make a point about how salt actually does not ‘charge his energy like a battery’ when clearly he is an actual robot.”
5. Discussions of Government Propaganda Are One-Sided
Most governments have done their best to keep the system balanced. One man shares, “I’m Nicaraguan. Once I was trying to explain to an Ortega (president/dictator) supporter why it was illegal for Ortega to pick his wife as a vice-president.
Yours truly: If you read the constitution…
Her: I dont read anti-goverment propaganda.”
6. Stuck on Winning an Argument in the Moment
It’s hard to win a political or philosophical argument in a heated moment of discussion. Trying to do so is idiotic; most users agree. Rather, it takes time for concepts to be understood.
A great analogy someone shares illustrates the point: “Ah yes: I call this the “crab hammer” method. You can’t conquer someone like they’re a boss in a video game. You can only give them a bonk with a little wooden mallet and hope the crack it forms is the basis for future change.”
7. Stuck in Meaningless Social Media Debates
Arguing and getting mad at strangers on social media or firms is useless. “You won’t convince someone they’re wrong, you’re screaming at a brick wall.” Says a writer.
8. Disproving Math Equations
“A friend in school was convinced he could find a triangle who’s angles wouldn’t add up to 180 degrees after learning the rule in class.
I just couldn’t get him to understand that if he finds some shape that doesn’t fit the definition of a triangle, then by definition he has not found a triangle.” Shares a user. Others agree that he missed the point and is confused. However, many shared he’d be happy to learn about the world of Non-Euclidian geometry, involving shapes in spherical dimensions. Some people are set on disproving theories that have already been firmly proven.
9. The That’s What I Said Argument
This argumentative tactic can be downright exhausting or borderline abusive (according to some Redditors). One user shares, “Even though they’re wrong they’ll still carry on the argument and then when you’ve convinced them they’ll say yeah that’s what I said trying to make you look the fool. Had plenty of arguments like that.” Seriously?
10. A Know It All
This is an interesting one. One user shares, “Used to have a “friend” who would legit argue with you about your own experiences and tastes/opinions, and pretty much anything else. Some examples include:
Insisting that neither my husband nor I could possibly remember September 11 because we were only 11 at the time.
Insisting that no one could possibly remember anything from before the age of 10. Said I was lying that I can remember every teacher I ever had, and have memories from as young as 3 years old.” So strange. Some people just don’t think about the words coming out of their mouths.
11. Complaining No Matter What
This story is typical of a person that won’t apologize and complains no matter what. “For a short while, I worked as a line cook at a Cracker Barrel, and there was a little saloon style door that led to the staff section (kitchen, bathroom, etc.). There was a staff only sign on the door, above the doors, and on the wall behind the doors at eye level.
Usually if someone from the customer side comes in, they said, “Coming in” before opening the door, so they didn’t hit anyone, but of course customers didn’t know that.
So when this dude opened the door and hit a waitress carrying a ton of drinks, we were reasonably upset with him. He said, “You should really put a sign up.” We showed him all the signs, and he goes, “That seems a bit excessive.””
12. Disregarding an NDA
Some people are clueless when it comes to binding contracts. A man shares, “Had an employee sign a NDA about an upcoming art installation that had investors. He told everyone. He argued with me the NDA only meant he couldn’t disclose anything with the people in the company.”
13. Fighting for the Sake of It
Some people will argue just to argue. One man writes, “A coworker once called me an idiot for doing something “incorrectly” when I was actually doing it the right way. When I politely explained to them that the way they suggested doing the task didn’t actually work, they started asking “why are you getting so angry?? I was just trying to help” etc. So now we’re arguing about whether I’m angry or not instead of the right way to complete the task.” And on it goes…
14. Having Fun
Other people love to purposely say whatever will get a rise out of the other person. Someone share a perfect quote for this that shows its now worth the effort, ““Never wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.” – George Bernard Shaw”
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