How to argue with someone who always belittles other people

Updated November 21, 2016

Some people do not play fair when they argue. Some people argue as an act of aggression. They are not interested in listening to the other person's point of view, nor are they interested in finding common ground with the other party. Most people know a person like this; it is often someone in your own family, or a work colleague. You can find yourself dreading any communication with this person, or even avoiding the person altogether. However, you can take steps to handle conflict with this person in a less damaging way.

Observe the other party's communication, including his body language. He might have clenched his fists, or his facial expression may be angry and tense. He may raise his voice. Alternatively, he may be quietly sarcastic and try to score points by belittling you. Take care not to mirror his aggressive stance and tone. Stay calm and refuse to become angry. The other person is exercising his power by making you angry, upset, or defensive. Do not play into his hands.

Wait until there is a gap in the dialogue and state your point succinctly and calmly. Refuse to engage in a verbal game of point scoring.Your greatest victory is to stay calm and express yourself firmly and clearly. If the other person tries harder to put you down, by saying something hurtful, refuse to give him the power to do this.

Walk away from the conflict if the other person continues to insult you and refuses to discuss the issue in a more reasonable way. Do not walk away in temper, but state calmly that you feel that you are not achieving anything by continuing the argument. Offer to discuss things later when the other person is prepared to resist making personal insults or derogatory remarks.


If your relations with the other person have seriously deteriorated, consider asking a trusted third party to mediate.

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About the Author

Noreen Wainwright has been writing since 1997. Her work has appeared in "The Daily Telegraph," "The Guardian," "The Countryman" and "The Lady." She has a Bachelor of Arts in social sciences from Liverpool Polytechnic and a postgraduate law degree from Staffordshire University.