Arguing vs. Discussing

What's the Difference?

Arguing and discussing are two different ways of engaging in a conversation or debate. Arguing typically involves a more confrontational approach, where individuals present their opinions forcefully and often try to prove the other person wrong. It tends to be more emotionally charged and can sometimes lead to conflict or hostility. On the other hand, discussing is a more collaborative and open-minded approach, where individuals exchange ideas and perspectives in a respectful manner. The goal of a discussion is to understand different viewpoints, find common ground, and reach a consensus or solution. Unlike arguing, discussing focuses on listening, empathy, and finding a middle ground rather than winning or proving someone wrong.


DefinitionExpressing differing opinions with intensity and emotional involvement.Engaging in a conversation to exchange ideas and opinions in a respectful manner.
GoalTo prove one's point and convince others of its validity.To explore different perspectives and reach a mutual understanding.
ToneOften confrontational and adversarial.Usually calm, respectful, and open-minded.
EmotionCan involve strong emotions, anger, and frustration.Emotions are generally kept in check, focusing on rationality.
ListeningMay involve less active listening, as the focus is on making one's point.Active listening is emphasized to understand different perspectives.
ConflictOften leads to conflict and can strain relationships.Conflict is minimized, and relationships can be strengthened through understanding.
ApproachMore competitive and argumentative.More cooperative and collaborative.
OutcomeMay result in winners and losers, with one side prevailing.Focuses on finding common ground and reaching a consensus.

Further Detail


When it comes to expressing differing opinions or engaging in a conversation about a particular topic, two common approaches are arguing and discussing. While both methods involve communication and the exchange of ideas, they differ significantly in their attributes and outcomes. In this article, we will explore the characteristics of arguing and discussing, highlighting their strengths and weaknesses, and ultimately determining which approach is more effective in fostering understanding and resolving conflicts.


Arguing is often associated with a more confrontational and emotionally charged approach to communication. It involves presenting and defending one's own viewpoint while actively challenging or refuting the opposing perspective. Here are some key attributes of arguing:

  • Emotional Intensity: Arguing tends to evoke strong emotions, as individuals become invested in defending their beliefs or opinions. This emotional intensity can sometimes hinder effective communication, as it may lead to personal attacks or a breakdown in rational thinking.
  • Win-Lose Mentality: Arguing often adopts a win-lose mentality, where the goal is to prove one's own viewpoint as superior and convince others to adopt it. This competitive approach can create a hostile environment and hinder collaboration.
  • Focus on Individual Perspectives: Arguing tends to prioritize individual perspectives, with each participant primarily concerned with defending their own ideas. This can limit the exploration of alternative viewpoints and hinder the development of a more comprehensive understanding of the topic.
  • Less Open to Change: Due to the emotional investment and the win-lose mentality, individuals engaged in arguing may be less open to changing their opinions or considering alternative viewpoints. This can lead to a stalemate and hinder the resolution of conflicts.
  • Quick Decision-Making: Arguing can sometimes lead to quick decision-making, as individuals feel pressured to defend their viewpoints and reach a resolution. However, this haste may result in overlooking important details or failing to consider all relevant perspectives.


On the other hand, discussing is a more collaborative and open-minded approach to communication. It involves a respectful exchange of ideas, where participants aim to understand different perspectives and reach a mutually beneficial outcome. Let's explore the attributes of discussing:

  • Respectful and Constructive: Discussing encourages participants to engage in a respectful and constructive manner. It emphasizes active listening, empathy, and the use of logical arguments rather than personal attacks. This fosters a positive and conducive environment for communication.
  • Win-Win Mentality: Unlike arguing, discussing adopts a win-win mentality, where the goal is to find common ground and reach a mutually beneficial outcome. This cooperative approach promotes collaboration and encourages the exploration of shared interests.
  • Consideration of Multiple Perspectives: Discussing values the consideration of multiple perspectives. Participants actively seek to understand different viewpoints and are open to incorporating new ideas into their own thinking. This promotes a more comprehensive understanding of the topic at hand.
  • Openness to Change: Due to the emphasis on understanding and considering different perspectives, discussing encourages individuals to be open to changing their opinions or adapting their viewpoints. This flexibility allows for growth and the potential resolution of conflicts.
  • Thoughtful Decision-Making: Discussing promotes thoughtful decision-making by encouraging participants to carefully evaluate all relevant information and perspectives. This deliberative approach helps ensure that decisions are well-informed and considerate of all stakeholders.

Which Approach is More Effective?

While both arguing and discussing have their own attributes, discussing is generally considered to be a more effective approach in fostering understanding and resolving conflicts. Here's why:

  • Improved Communication: Discussing encourages active listening, empathy, and respectful dialogue, which leads to improved communication between participants. This allows for a deeper understanding of different perspectives and promotes effective problem-solving.
  • Collaboration and Cooperation: The win-win mentality of discussing promotes collaboration and cooperation among participants. By seeking common ground and shared interests, individuals can work together towards finding mutually beneficial solutions.
  • Enhanced Understanding: Discussing values the consideration of multiple perspectives, leading to a more comprehensive understanding of the topic at hand. This broader understanding helps avoid narrow-mindedness and encourages critical thinking.
  • Conflict Resolution: The openness to change and flexibility in discussing make it more effective in resolving conflicts. By actively considering alternative viewpoints and being willing to adapt, participants can find common ground and reach mutually agreeable solutions.
  • Long-Term Relationship Building: Discussing fosters positive and respectful communication, which is essential for building long-term relationships. By valuing the opinions and perspectives of others, individuals can establish trust and strengthen their connections.


While arguing and discussing are both approaches to communication, they differ significantly in their attributes and outcomes. Arguing tends to be emotionally charged, competitive, and focused on individual perspectives, while discussing promotes respectful dialogue, collaboration, and consideration of multiple viewpoints. Ultimately, discussing is generally considered to be a more effective approach in fostering understanding, resolving conflicts, and building long-term relationships. By embracing the attributes of discussing, individuals can engage in meaningful conversations that lead to personal growth, improved communication, and mutually beneficial outcomes.

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