I live with my parents. My father likes to challenge nearly everything I say, up to the point of ridiculousness. I can prove many of the things he challenges but not immediately. In most cases his disagreements with my comments are off-topic. They seem to stem from a psychological need to be right.

An example:

I had just come back from a road trip up the country. During dinner, I was making conversation and expressed my surprise about a sign on the motorway saying vehicles more than 2.0m wide are not allowed on the left lane. I remember joking about my car being 2004 milimeters (2.004m) wide.

My father then said my car cannot possibly be 2004 milimeters wide, since it 'cannot possibly be so large'. Well, it is. Since we're not allowed to use our phones during dinner, I could not show him proof.

When I finally convinced him that my car was indeed as wide as I said (although I am convinced he didn't actually believe me), he started arguing that I must have misread the sign. When I convinced him that I have seen the sign correctly, by asking my road-trip partners to confirm, he argued the signs were illegal.

My sister ended up snapping at me and telling me to stop arguing.

There are many more situations like this. Another time, he told me there are no shops under Rotterdam Central Station, so I could not have bought a sandwich there. He last was there 20 years ago, I was there the morning of the evening this conversation happened. Whenever I make a bland, trivially verifiable statement about my day I get told it is impossible or false, almost like: "I was walking home from work..." "No you weren't, you have no feet!" "And saw a cat ..." "Impossible, cats are extinct!" and so on forever...

This happens on average once a week. I try to avoid situations that could spark arguments, but every potential topic seems to be arguable. I tried not talking at all, but I get flack for "not telling anything". He does it with basically everyone, even people he has just met. As soon as they say something he knows about, he has to comment on it.

I would like for this behaviour to stop. It is making me feel like I know nothing and causes me to act like a know-it-all in other places. I even caught myself copying this behaviour that I hate to other people.

My mother and sister tell me to not argue with him, but that is incredibly difficult. I'm fed up with being dumb, I know things too!

My goal is to win these arguments if they occur or to stop them from happening entirely. Everything but losing the argument, basically. How can I do that?

I’m 25 by the way. My sister is just 18, but she’s good at this stuff. She has trouble dropping it sometimes too, though. My brother is 21 but gets in near constant arguments with him. Both my father and I lean towards Asperger. We are looking to move out, which I am expecting to happen between now and half a year from now. I’m looking for a solution that will mainly work for that time, but preferably in the future too.

My father hasn't been examined for Alzheimer's, but I think it is unlikely that that influences his behaviour. His perception of things is simply... odd. The two main sources for his statements are either things that were true in the past (there was indeed no shops under the station when he was last there, there were renovations when I visited and he last visited 20 years ago) or based on misunderstanding of for example news (when Samsung was being investigated for supposedly reducing battery life to sell more phones, along with Apple, he understood that Samsung actually did that, even though this was later refuted).

15 Answers 15

up vote 170 down vote accepted

My goal is to win these arguments if they occur or to stop them from happening entirely. Everything but losing the argument, basically. How can I do that?

You need to modify your definition of "winning" an argument with your father. His goal is to get in an argument. If you can avoid that argument, then you have "won".

The best way to do this is to learn the art of gray rocking.

The idea is to find a neutral, boring response that doesn't give your dad anything more to argue with. For example:

Dad: "Your car can't possibly be over 2m wide!!"

You: ok

This might feel like losing the argument, but it's not. It's not a concession, its an artful dodge. Move on with dinner or with unrelated discussion.

Just continue repeating your boring phrase:

Dad: "There's no restaurant under the station!"

You: ok

Again, you're not admitting that he is right, you're simply acknowledging that he has expressed his opinion in the most boring way possible.

It is hard to predict how he will respond, it will certainly catch him off guard. He might escalate, just continue to respond the same way:

Dad: "I'm telling you, you can't possibly have bought a sandwich there!"

You: ok

If you think "ok" is too confrontational, you could instead use something like "you're right, Dad". Use it in the same, way, repeated as boring and neutral as possible, to shut down arguments as they come up.

Are you conceding defeat? No. Again, your dad's goal isn't to "win", your dad's goal is to get into an argument.

By avoiding the argument, you "win", even if you are literally saying "you win, Dad".

Other similar phrases suggested in the comments:

  • "oh"
  • "huh"
  • nod + "hmm"
  • "if you say so"
  • "I'll think about that" (great for suggestions/ideas. You will think about their idea, after which you'll reject it)
  • "Roger" or "Roger that"
  • "I see"
  • "You make a good point" (...that I have no intention of following...)
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    Important note: This can be generalized much farther than just his father. It's a useful technique for any argumentative individual that you have no intention of being in an argument with. – dimwittedanimal Jun 14 at 15:52

You seem to be an apple that didn't fall far from the tree. When there are two people in an argument who prefer "anything but losing the argument" this is what is going to happen. People are going to yell, get their phones, prove facts, say those don't matter, say you must have remembered wrong, and generally get upset.

I know it's upsetting to have things go off from the script in your head. You saw a silly sign, and felt a little smart because you knew it was silly. You told the story at dinner and expected everyone to be mildly amused. Instead, someone said you were wrong and that wasn't the width of your car. Suddenly, you were in an argument and you couldn't get out of it. Who knows why he had to say you were wrong? Maybe he also wanted to feel smart. Maybe he thinks whoever gets paid to put up signs would never put up a silly sign, so you have to be wrong. It could be interesting for you to think about his motivations, but not in the middle of an argument.

You say you have to argue with him and cannot lose. You don't want to feel stupid, you want it acknowledged that you know things too. Losing these arguments is making you bully and argue with other people. That's no good. But look at your mother and sister. Are they stupid? Do they know things? Why don't they have to argue with him? Do they perhaps just give each other (or you) "that look" when he starts, and change the subject? When they do, do you think to yourself "wow, my sister is so stupid and doesn't know anything"? I bet you don't. What would happen if you could give yourself a "Free pass" the same way you give one to them? You know that when he tells them spaghetti grows on trees, and they decide it's a good idea to discuss a tv show right now, they aren't stupid and they know about spaghetti. Can the same not be true for you?

If you have confidence in your own knowledge and capabilities, you can let someone say you are wrong, and not have to argue, push back, prove, and win. Because an older man saying there is no place to buy a sandwich cannot establish or change the true fact of sandwich buying. You know that. So why argue? What will it change? Is that how you want to spend your dinner time? Is that who you want to be?

Not arguing is probably new to you. I bet you've been doing it with him for years. Watch your sister and mother. How do they do it? Do they just change the subject without giving in? Do they say a little phrase like "if you say so" or "oh I suppose you know all about this" that indicate they are not going to argue any more? Do they just stop talking and eat their food? Turn and talk to someone else about something else? I could argue for one or another of these strategies and why they might work, but there's no need for that because you have solid examples of them in use probably every day within your family. Observe.

The next time your father contradicts you and starts off about something that he is totally wrong on, do whatever it is you've observed your mother and sister doing. Then afterwards, if you feel like a small child, or feel stupid, or that your knowledge was unfairly characterized, you can talk to one of them alone. Tell them your car is actually more than 2m wide, or there really is a sandwich shop or whatever. They will probably say "there, there" or "I know" or "you know how Dad is." After a while you can skip this step because you'll have the confidence in yourself and won't need to get it externally. And you can be proud of your skill in preventing these pointless arguments with you father.

Concede that you might be wrong

Even when you know you are right, state your position, but include the possibility that you are wrong, and then get back to the point you were trying to make and away from the argument. "Maybe I misread the width of my car when I checked it at the shop... Still, if my car is 4mm too wide that's kind of funny right? Can you picture a cop with a measuring tape giving me a hard time?!"

Focus on the story or information you were trying to impart and try not to get dragged into an argument over the details. If he is dead set on an argument, and you are positive you are right, making a bet can sometimes diffuse the argument (if it's easily resolvable). "The Sandwich I got at {shopname} was pretty tasty. I'm pretty sure it was under Rotterdam Central, but I was also hungry so maybe I misremembered... how about this, next week we'll go to {shopname} get lunch together. If it IS under the station you buy my lunch, and if it's not I'll buy yours." This gives immediate stakes while also stopping the need to argue about it in the meantime.

Not every argument needs to be "The Hill you die on" and by showing that you're willing to admit the possibility of defeat will hopefully make him think about the possibility that he is wrong. Of course, he may just double down and try and take advantage of your concessions in which case a different tack will need to be attempted (see other answers in that case.)

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    Or just bet him BIG when you know you're going to be right. Say "You think my car isn't that large? I bet you 250/500/1000 euros it is." – Three Diag Jun 14 at 11:30
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    TBH I wouldn't recommend large bets, especially right off the bat... start small, and if he keeps losing start increasing the stakes. And if you start losing bets, maybe reevaluate just how "right" you are. I've lost bets due to being 100% positive I was right but actually being wrong. And ultimately, intrafamily betting is a whole other can of worms. – aslum Jun 14 at 13:47
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    yeah, I like "I bet you.... " pause for dramatic effect.... "..... 20p" and then state the terms of the bet. – Tom H Jun 16 at 18:06

tl;dr- Given that this a parent you live with, you probably want to talk to them as a long-term solution strategy. Then before the whole communication thing works out, you can deflect with humorous nonsense, apathy, or whatever else works.


Step 1: Talk to him about what's going on

If he's a parent that you live with, it's probably best to have an honest conversation. I mean you can try to manage it using strategies discussed in other answers and below in this one, but your relationship is far too close to not talk something like this out.

You might wait 'til a good time when you're alone and they've not under too much stress to just say something like:

Hey, I just wanted to chat with you for a minute if you're up for it. We've been having some back-and-forth at the dinner table, and I just want to make sure that we're on the same page with what's going on.

Then if he's up for it, awesome: conversation time! Otherwise, no pressure, just try to check back later.

Once it's conversation time, something like:

So what I wanted to chat about was some of the disagreement when we're telling stories at the dinner table. For example, there was that time I was talking about a sign I saw on the road, and you were pretty insistent about some things like how my car couldn't be as wide as what I know it to be from the owner's manual [or whatever it was].

As a one-time thing, it would've been a little weird, but when these things keep happening, I'm not sure what's going on. Could you help me to understand what you mean when you say that something that happened didn't happen?

From there, a lot would depend on his response. For example, if he laughs and says that he just likes to mess around with you, then that's one discussion. Or if he says that he believes that you're a compulsive liar, then that's a very different discussion. You might want to run through some of the possibilities in advance so you're ready for the different responses you think he might give.

The tricks here include:

  1. It's a talk about an interpersonal problem, so definitely want to keep it light-hearted and avoid language that could be mistaken for accusations.

  2. While avoiding accusations, it's important to clearly lay out your concerns. For example, in your shoes I'd be a bit worried about the mental well-being of someone who compulsively argues illogical points, even if they're doing so merely to be contrarian, so I'd be one to say something to the effect of:

    When you say things like [absurd argument], I get a bit worried that you might be losing touch with reality.

  3. If the conversation starts turning heated, you can back off and try again later; no reason it needs to be done all in one go.

  4. He may not be sure why he's doing this stuff himself. Going slow, keeping pressure minimal, and allowing for thinking time during the discussion can help to make it more reflective.

The ultimate goal here is to mutually figure out what's actually happening. Often, that's plenty for mature adults to resolve an issue.

Step 2: Managing on-going symptoms incidents

@BradC's answer suggested gray rocking, i.e. deflecting contrarian arguments with apathetic disregard. This seems like one possible approach.

As a variant, I'd suggest humorously acknowledging their argument. If you can pull it off, it can seem less harsh while also being a lot of fun (if you enjoy this sorta thing!).

For example:

  • You: So I was driving down the road and saw this sign that said cars that're more than 2.0m-wide can't drive in the left lane, which was a problem for me since my car's 2004mm-wide...

  • Him: Your car can't possibly be that wide!

  • You: Okay, so I thought the owner's manual said my car was 2004mm-wide, so...

  • Him: You couldn't have seen such a sign anyway, because that'd be an illegal sign!

  • You: Okay, so I thought I saw an illegal sign that said[...]

  • Him: You couldn't have seen an illegal sign because you're blind!

  • You: Okay, so I hallucinated that I could see an illegal sign...

  • Him: You're on drugs now?!

  • You: Yeah, but it's cool, I only take the hardcore stuff when I want to hallucinate that I'm driving somewhere. And, I mean, that imaginary illegal sign on the highway was really trippy! But, it did worry me, because I thought that my owner's manual said that my car was too wide...

And, yes – yes, if he started going on about how he was going to call the police for drug use, I'd start ranting about how they're in on the imaginary signs in the first place and how that's what the Illuminati wants him to do, because Big Oil needed it for chem trails to hide [more crazy nonsense].

That said, I enjoy humorous nonsense and coming up with wacky stories in situations like that. Then again, I enjoy humorous nonsense and coming up with wacky stories in a lot of situations; it helps me to keep a low profile so the CIA doesn't suspect that I know about their secret cameras. But if that's not your speed, the apathetic-"ok" strategy's on the table, or you might find some middle ground between 'em.

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    Your (1) suggestion to me sounds like you've never had a father like the OPs. Having very similar experiences to the OP, I... cannot recommend (1) as a healthy option. The type of personality OP is describing doesn't take well to what is basically a "you are wrong all the time, why?" type of conversation. – enderland Jun 18 at 13:13
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    @ElysianFields 'course the "you are wrong all of the time, why?" is a framing that shouldn't be used. The OP shouldn't discuss why they're wrong all of the time, but rather why they're always having a "back-and-forth". Even in more extreme cases like an utterly self-obsessed narcissist who turns violent upon being criticized, there're still viable framings here, e.g. "I've noticed that I'm always messing up in our discussions at dinner, and I'd like to ask for your help in how to talk less stupidly.". They're more difficult, but communication's generally possible. – Nat Jun 18 at 14:34
  • I agree. However my experience is the person you are talking to will take it that way regardless, unless the OP self degrades themselves. – enderland Jun 18 at 16:19

Your goal is to diffuse the situation by dropping and diverting the conversation.

In regards to:

My father then said my car cannot possibly be 2004 milimeters wide, since it 'cannot possibly be so large'.

You could, err should, have responded:

You're probably right, how was your day?


I understand your desire to be "right" but you have very clearly seen which direction that sends you off to.


You will benefit greatly by being able to identify Pigeon Chess:

Refers to having a pointless debate with somebody utterly ignorant of the subject matter, but standing on a dogmatic position that cannot be moved with any amount of education or logic, but who always proclaims victory.

There's already some great answers to this question that I hope will work well for you. However, I'd like to offer an alternative possibility that worked well for me in a somewhat similar situation.

Consider getting some distance

I grew up and lived in a similar situation of constantly arguing with my mom, although the reasons for doing so were different.

My mom is an incredibly selfless and loving person, however she tried to micro-manage every tiny little detail of my life, and would never take no for an answer.

For example, a simple question, "Do you want cheese on your eggs?", to which I would answer, "No thanks," would turn into a 30 minute argument. Now, I understand she was doing something for me, and looking back I did not always respond maturely to such acts. I don't want to get too deep into the situation, as it's not particularly relevant to your question; long story short, we were constantly arguing, with neither side willing to back down.

As I grew older, I learned to handle these situations more maturely and avoid them as best as possible. However, other than completely allowing my mom to micro-manage my life, there was no way to completely resolve this situation while living in her house.

Moving out into my own place and gaining independence mostly resolved the situation for me.

Gaining some distance from my mom allowed the following:

  • First and foremost, there just weren't nearly as many opportunities to argue. When you live with someone, you constantly interact with them, directly and indirectly. It went from dozens of interactions a day, all with the potential for conflict, down to a phone call every other day or so.
  • I felt better. Part of the issue was just how tired and frustrated I was with arguing. Now that I had cut down the number of arguments by 90%, I was willing to be more open and forgiving in the remaining 10% of conflicts that arose. If things did get frustrating, I had a safe place to go to get away (my new home).
  • It forced us to choose what was important in our relationship. Again, now that our time together was so limited, and we both missed each other, we had to prioritize how we spent that time. Neither of us wanted to waste time on arguing.
  • Distance allowed both of us to view our relationship in a new perspective. I believe a big reason why we argued so constantly, was because we had always been like that. We had developed such deep set habits over the 20 years we had spent together. Changing the nature of our relationship allowed us to break those habits.

I'm not sure if your situation is to this level, and I do have hope that if you apply the other answers that you can improve the situation. However, if you find that nothing seems to help the situation, getting some distance might.

Getting just a little space:

Note that "getting some distance" doesn't have to mean moving out, although moving out and gaining independence may be the most effective way to do so. If you are tired of and frustrated with arguing, there are other ways of getting some space. You may consider spending less time at home (i.e. more time at school, with friends, or practicing hobbies). Perhaps you could find some partial arrangement, such as staying at a friend's house a couple days a week. It could even be as simple as spending more time in a separate area of the living space from your father, such as your room.

Even if these methods don't grant all the effects listed above, just having some space to breath and rest, and less potentially conflicting interactions with your father, could help the situation.

My response in a situation like this might not be the most polite, and it certainly won't work with all instigators, but it works for me well enough. I'd just not acknowledge what was said with more than a raised eyebrow or an eye-roll or a sarcastic, "right" or "sure." This shows that I'm not cowed by the arguer, but also that I don't see the need to validate their statement by engaging with it.

...But be prepared for this to backfire. Someone who's talking to hear themselves speak, or to dominate the conversation, might be satisfied with this. Someone who's looking to put others down or feel a sense of superiority over you - and it sounds like he might be in this latter case - might respond by escalating. If they tried escalating, my response would be to clearly and concisely say, "I'm not interested in arguing about this, this happens too often." I'm sure you've tried that before you got to the point you're at now, and beyond that I don't have any good advice besides "try to find a way to avoid engaging."

TL:DR

You need to change your definition of 'win'. Since he doesn't mind creating an argument over facts he cannot know, like the shop in the station, his goal is not to be right but something else.

Long Version

If the argument has already begun, the simple solution is to agree with him and go on. If you want to avoid these situations, you might need to consider what he might be getting out his seemingly illogical actions. Below is my explanation as to why I think your father's motivations are all too human and that may help in dealing with him.

As I was reading acidnbass's answer I was going to comment but then realized that I might have a useful answer myself.

Considering your father's behavior, I began to ask myself, "what is he getting out of his behavior, what is the reward?" While that might be a good question to present directly to your dad, as in

You: I saw a silly sign about cars over 2.0m wide
Father: That can't be right!
You: Ok, maybe I'm wrong, how is that important?

or a variation if you want to avoid a confrontation

You: We can check later, continuing with my story ...

The other examples you gave have a similar opportunity in them, like the shop under the station. While it is disconcerting to you that he is challenging you about an obvious fact, he may be inadvertently revealing something about the way he sees the world or even his place in it. Maybe he dislikes change and in his head the station is forever to be just as it was during his last visit.

But in taking this further, it occurred to me that your father may be wrestling with two opposing things that have you (yes, YOU) at the center. First, as you grow up he has to face the inevitability that his role as being the provider (of information in this case) in your life will change; he would not be the first father to not handle this gracefully. Second, as it becomes more apparent to him that you will soon move out, he could realize that he will miss interacting with you and his current reactions are a symptom of wanting said interaction, his problem is that he knows he can get it in this negative way; somewhat like a child acting out to get attention. While of course your father is not a child, we should not ignore the fact that as humans we sometimes are not entirely honest with ourselves including wanting to hide our own motivations assuming those are conscious, when those desires are unconscious they can drive behaviors that are hard to decipher, which seems to fit the bill here but I'll let you be the judge of that.

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    This is an interesting analysis of the situation. Can you edit this focus more on answering the OP's question and less on the musings of what's going on internally for the father. It might be a good idea to add an explanation for why you think your suggestions will address the OP's concerns. It would also be really useful to explain how you came to the conclusions you did about OP's father. – sphennings Jun 13 at 15:52

I'm understanding the problem you are facing. Its very hard when someone very close to us tends to do something which we don't like at all, like in you case pointing out every view of yours.

I once faced the same issue with close one of mine. You need to understand that not every dispute is meant to be won, when you love some one you accept them as they are. And you can not win any argument because if you lose the argument you eventually lose, but even if you win the argument you lose the person.

And specifically with your concert about your respected dad, he is aging. You have to admit that his brain isn't as young as yours. He isn't living in a world where you can ask questions online and find solutions. He is from an older time where people have there own ethics, for him its completely fine to argue, he has nothing else to do according to his perception. But in the broader view of the situation you need to understand that something that really matters, is joy, love and happiness. And your father needs it, so be polite, smile back. Say "Yes father you are right, you are more experienced from me, you know better than me", obviously in a polite tone.

And understand this that for you the world is big and broad but for him the world is narrow to you and family not as broad as your perception. So give him the love that he deserves from his own child. Even if you are prove wrong in the eyes of your own father its not a big deal, but just spread good vibes.

I hope this might help a bit.

Firstly, I would not assume malice, and I would attempt to have a conversation with him where you state that this behavior is bothering you and see where it may be coming from. You might find that he is reacting to a similar or otherwise hurtful behavior coming from you whether intentional or not (which you could resolve by modifying your own behavior), or that he is completely oblivious to his behavior. At times, behavior like this can be mutually acknowledged but in an unspoken manner, and the exhibitor is waiting for the observer to acknowledge the behavior directly as a way to elicit some sort of communication about a topic that the exhibitor doesn't know how or want to express directly (kids sometimes do this by doing things they've been told and know is wrong in order to get the attention of their parents). This waiting game is like a showdown that can go on forever or until one party gets tired of tolerating it (let it be you). Whatever you do, don't antagonize him in this conversation—you don't want to shade the outcome of this conversation by giving him the impression he's already been pocked in your mind, and if he is having such communication issues, it's most helpful for him to be received warmly.

If that conversation does not work, then you can assume he's not willing to relent because he is receiving some sort of reward by behaving this way and his desire for this reward is somehow stronger than his desire to avoid making you feel uncomfortable (I'm sorry). From a training perspective, you can try to reduce or eliminate the reward he seeks when he interjects with these comments. Exhibiting behavior like this (when knowing it is causing others discomfort) can be seen as a desire to gain attention or recognition out of fear of being ignored or deposed from a position of authority (eg. Mr. Smartypants). Take his fear and give it to him in place of the reward he seeks by ignoring or dismissing his comments (you can ignore by acting as though he never spoke or say something along the lines of "hmm, interesting. Anyways.." and move along).

This approach can help you in two ways: By ignoring the comments, you don't allow the interjections to derail the point of your conversation (which everyone will appreciate) and you bypass his reward system (the tangential argument detour). Additionally, you show that his comments in fact backfire and push him even further away from a position of authority and make his comments look completely uninteresting. If he is in fact looking for opportunities to assert his intellect, he will have to find a new way that doesn't involve randomly asserting that your statements are false (hopefully by instead responding to your comments with interesting, supporting statements). He might at first eventually become upset with being ignored, but ignore that too (it's undue, anyways). Eventually you can hope he gets bored of being ignored and starts to find a new way to participate in the conversation.

I think you're right about the fights being about something else, not what they're ostensibly about. You demonstrated that with the comment about "Cats are extinct!" Seems like it's more his issue than yours. Is this new? Is he having problems in other areas?

In most cases his disagreements with my comments are off-topic. They seem to stem from a psychological need to be right.

The questions for you are, can you figure out what these fights are about, and how should you handle them? Is there an "Elephant in the Room" issue? What's the overall dynamic? Is he uncomfortable with you growing up and becoming independent? Etc. You'll want to eventually deal with your own issues.

If you have a talking therapist available at school or work, you might want to talk with them. Or, since you live in a country with a real health care system, talk w someone related to that. You don't have to be in extremis to benefit from help talking about problems.

As an alternative, avoid bringing up topics when he's around

If a person likes to argue about everything, an alternative is to simply stop talking about topics that are likely to trigger an argument when they are present (if this is most things, then you will have to keep largely silent).

If they ask you why, then you will want to mention you're not interested in arguments and therefore do not feel you can maturely discuss topics with them (they will likely then argue - which you can point out as self-demonstration and continue to avoid talking).

They will have to weigh up which they prefer more: talking with you without arguing, or silence and no arguments.

It's not perfect, and you won't be able to always avoid discussions, but the first step to avoiding arguments is to not give them any fuel in the first place.

If you dont like arguments, kill them as BradC suggested. "If you say so" blows the joy away and story ends.

If you like to argument, you are about to change the strategy.

I can see your father arguments solely by challenging your arguments. Nothing more. In the argument you are the one to prove their opinion. Try to counter this. Pass the proof on him, force him to prove you wrong rather than prove yourself right.

You: There was a roadsign saying cars with 2.0 m and more aint allowed on the left line. I couldn't use it, my car is 2.004m wide.

Dad: You car is not that large!

You: Would you bet on that? $1?

The bet is set, rules are clear. Go measure the car, look for the car's informations, etc. Be ready to accept losing the bet! And when new argument (There was no sign like that) treat it like brand new argument and decide whether to dump it ("If you say so") or challenge it.

Jus a point, don't be a smartass; challenge some bets even if you are about to lose. And make the bet fun for both of you (and spectators).

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    I suggest 20 cents. It's a humorously low amount. And then in future you can go on about, how they still owe you 20 cents for that thing, previously, when the whole thing repeats. Also, the 20 cents, is an indication that you are not emotionally committed, and it's just a bit of fun to you. – Tom H Jun 16 at 18:08

I support BradC's answer (give a fixed boring reply to every statement that you do not want to start arguing about), in the sense that it is the easiest way to shut down an unproductive conversation. However, if you are feeling bored and want to play around, you could try replying in a manner that agrees but makes it seem ridiculous, at the same time:

"I was walking home from work..."

"No you weren't, you have no feet!"

"Alright. I must have flown home from work."

"And saw a cat ..."

"Impossible, cats are extinct!"

"Maybe extinct in this house, I guess."

If you can keep doing this, namely not directly disputing anything but making it even more ridiculous than it started, eventually the conversation will lose steam, but you have to be prepared to take a while to reach that point. But if he never stops, you may have to back out and resort to BradC's approach.

My dad's literally the same.

Accepted answer is correct that you need to win by making him loose. Loosing in Brad's answer is not arguing.

Well loosing for my dad is me arguing to the point where he starts using bulshit arguments against me. At that point I've learned over the years, that he understand he's los the argument ,but would keep arguing so it would seem he haven't lost.

Argue until your dad starts blabbering and it's obvious that you've won, and then diffuse any future attempts on his part to continue arguing.

For instance in your "no shop" argument:

U:I bought this awesome sandwich from Central station! F:No you didn't there are no shops there U:Ofcourse I did I was there two weeks ago F:You must have been confused by another place U:Ok here's a picture I took right infront of all the dozens of shops / here's a google images picture (You've just won the argument here) F:Ermmm, yeah that's photoshoped U:Yeah sure ;) whatever you say ;)

At this point, where I diffuse the argument as I've won and he knows I've won and tehre's nothing more he can say, I'll most likely be a huge ass just because f him why not!

protected by Community Jun 13 at 15:46

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