“Idiots” are simply people like you and I who are struggling with unresolved personal issues ranging from low self-esteem to ego, insecurity to poor impulse control and more. While it is acceptable to regard the behavior as idiotic, it is never permissible to label the individual as such. People are inherently good but each of us at times acts out in an obnoxious or difficult manner. As you know, I do not make excuses or condone bad behavior but I do practice being understanding and non-judgmental of it.
When arguing with a person acting in an idiotic manner, here are a few tips that will be beneficial to all parties:
1. First assess if the situation even warrants your time and energy. If not, no response is necessary and you are free to ignore the comments.
2. If, in fact, you feel it is essential or you choose to engage with the other party, examine your motives for doing so. If you have any hidden agendas or your reasons are not purely honorable, refrain from interacting at that time.
3. Relinquish the need to be right, to be acknowledged, to be heard or to win. Most likely none of those will occur.
4. Practice diffusing statements. Refrain from making inflammatory comments that will fuel the argument. Remember the R/D/C Method: Refuse (to get caught up in the drama), Diffuse (using proper verbiage), Choose (alternatives to methods that have proven ineffective in the past).
5. Operate from a place of Spirit. Never allow ego to dictate your course of action.
6. State your position once. Do not repeat (unless they sincerely need clarification), explain, justify, or convince.
7. Be firm, fair, clear, and brief.
8. Acknowledge their position, feelings, beliefs and such. Be sincere. It is the first step towards gaining their respect and cooperation.
9. Thank them for their time and for sharing.
10. Know when to bow out of the discussion. Either change the topic or disengage completely (walking away is a form of disengaging.) Make a statement to inform the other party of your intention. “Nice speaking with you. I wish you the best. I have to leave now.”
Remember, true personal power is the ability to be unaffected negatively by outside circumstances. Maintain your composure and dignity and always extend respect to the other party regardless of how badly they are behaving. Be the example.