Do you ever feel like arguments go around in circles and never do anything except drain yours and the other person’s energy? I certainly feel like I have to “win” arguments or debates, and this can escalate into conflict and hurt my relationship with that person. So, how do you settle any argument so easily?
It’s surprisingly simple actually. Here are the two golden words:
Here are some alternative replies which aren’t as good as Fair Enough™:
“That’s your opinion” = “You’re entitled to talk nonsense”. Bit passive aggressive. “That’s your prerogative” = Same as above, only more pompous. “Okay” = Trying hard to seem non-invested. Socially awkward. Cryptic. “Right” = Could come across as passive aggressive.
“You’re right” = Implies you agree. If you don’t agree, then you’re lying to yourself. “I disagree” = Could invite the other person to continue arguing. “Let’s agree to disagree” = Acceptable. However, doesn’t acknowledge the opposition. “Lol” = Falsely amused. Aggressive. Only keyboard warriors use this.
Fair enough is the best possible response for a number of reasons.
First, it neutrally acknowledges their opinion. A lot of people just want to be seen and heard. However, actually saying “I hear you” might indicate that you agree. This response could work but could be misinterpreted as you agreeing. “Fair enough”, however, is neutral.
It also avoids further intensity and saves your energy. It can defuse the argument entirely because you’re saying you hear the other person’s opinion, even if you don’t agree. Often, especially on the Internet where egos, inhibitions and keyboard warriors run wild, debates often turn into heated arguments.
For example, after posting an article about how to attract women by owning your weaknesses and being honest and real, I had plenty of negative comments on both Facebook and Reddit. While many agreed with me, many disagreed, and I wasted some time justifying my position, trying to prove I’m right, etc. I would’ve rather spent that time instead to do something more productive, such as relax or write more articles for my blog. In hindsight, I wish I had responded not at all, or just, “fair enough”. That would’ve saved me time and energy.
Furthermore, the word “enough” has some impact. There’s a subtle meaning of “that’s enough”, but the word “fair” mitigates its harshness
Don’t get me wrong; I still get the urge to defend myself, my ego and my pride. And, as s a recovering codependent, I sometimes feel shame when someone disagrees.
In fact, someone ended an argument recently with “shame on you!”, which I got angry about initially, and I wanted to tell them where to stick that comment. But you know how I replied to them?
Because there are far more important battles to be won in life.
Not replying is also an excellent reply for thoughtless comments. However, in the real world, silence could be seen as passive aggressive or submission. Fair Enough™ on the other hand, is more neutral in comparison. Silence may also invite further argument until you respond.
The real winner of any debate or argument is the person who leaves with peace in their heart.
About the Author
BSc (Hons), Dip. Coach (Accred), NLP Master Coach, MAC
Nick Hatter is an Accredited Life Coach and Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) Master Coach, and is certified in Positive Psychology Resilience Skills. He is an expert on well-being and is one of London's leading career and life coaches.
He has featured on BBC, Channel 4, Forbes, Metro, AskMen, HuffPost and more.