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I'm having a (fairly) civil argument with my team leader at work and we can't agree. The other party makes two or three blaming statements which I feel are untrue, but then immediately says "I don't want to argue anymore".

I told Alice to tell you to do X, so why did you do Y? Anyway, I don't want to argue anymore.

I feel this is passive-aggressive. Should I say "I don't want to argue either, but I need to address your last statements?" If I just agree to not argue, it feels like I'm tacitly agreeing with their statements and accepting their blame.

Or should I just say "I disagree with what you said and I don't want to argue either"? Do I have the right of reply and what's the best way of responding without dragging out/restarting the argument?

  • Could you elaborate and add some more details? What was the conversation about? Was this with a friend, family, an acquaintance, etc.? What is your goal or goals in this conversation: are you trying to win the argument, preserve the relationship, etc.? Where are you located--interpersonal skills are culturally specific. – user288 Sep 20 '17 at 2:34
  • I think my answer stands for any kind of relationship, and for any kind of arguments. Except someone's life is on the line, on which you should stop immediately and take action. – Vylix Sep 20 '17 at 2:44
  • @Vylix Bottom line: I don't want to accept the blame for something that could ultimately lose me my job. Each one of these incidents of which there are more than a few affects my reputation at work. – CJ Dennis Sep 20 '17 at 2:49
  • If it's about work, and what you're saying is the case, then it's extremely different than in a situation where you're chatting with a friend and they think you're an idiot to like wearing stripes and plaid together but you're like "Can't stop; won't stop!" You don't have to include specific details but the comment you've made and some additional information if you can give it should be added to your question. – Catija Sep 20 '17 at 3:03
  • This should be a The Workplace SE question, because you mention "I don't want to accept the blame for something that could ultimately lose me my job". The team leader (or supervisor) can do as they wish, but if there is an ethical dilemma the company should have some system to deal with it. The only interpersonal issue here is if you choose to argue. – user3169 Sep 20 '17 at 6:46
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This is the same with acquaintances, friends, close friends, and relatives.

Stop

When someone wish not to argue anymore, please respect it.

You may give one last statement, but do it without inciting more arguments.

Okay, but I still think Spiderman is the strongest.

Okay, but I still think I'm not wrong for doing Y.

Stopping the argument is not the same as agreeing/giving in to your opponent's argument.

By stopping the argument there, you are saving your relationship with that person and preventing it turns into personal conflict, especially not in workplace and with your team leader. No one wants yelling and swearing in an argument.

Since this happens in a workplace, email your team leader the details why you think you are not wrong. Email has neutral tone, and you can make sure your points are delivered first before your team leader responds. Hopefully he/she can respond with clear head.

Bonus: using email will establish a history of your exchange of arguments, which later can be a leverage when your action is questioned by your manager.

  • 1
    "When someone wish not to argue anymore, please respect it." OK, could you explain why? If you have an interpersonal question, the why is going to be what you learn from. The what only tells you how to act in a specific situation, the why is where you learn how to interact with humans in general. – user288 Sep 20 '17 at 2:49

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