You may have heard it said that a certain person would argue with a fencepost. That is ok if the fencepost is not holding a gun, knife or other weapon on you. Most of us want to get the last word in or at least make sure that our position is perfectly understood by the guy in the next car whom we know is not driving nearly as well as us.
To the wrong person on the streets, a verbal challenge is like being called out for a showdown. Many alpha males and alpha females do not take a challenge lightly. They must be dealt with. Why there is honor at stake here. This can be like squaring off with a hungry lion that is having a very bad day.
If you are going to challenge someone on the streets whom you do not know, you had better know the risk and nature of the game. Flying in under the radar has a lot to be said for it. For all of us non-violent people, we can argue (actually we call it debating) with someone and never feel the urge to “take it outside.” We often argue with people at the office or with our spouse and kids. We think that we have the liberty to have our say with someone on the streets or at a bar and then everyone just walks away with this cathartic exercise.
If you are going to challenge someone on the streets whom you do not know, you had better know the risk and the nature of the game. Going home to your family should always outweigh having… THE LAST WORD!
Rules for Verbal Exchange
When you find yourself in a potentially volatile situation where a verbal exchange is imminent, here are some rules to guide you. Remember, most physical assaults begin with verbal interplay. This is often a pre-exam to see if you are a good candidate for a robbery, assault or rape! Do not let the other person set the rules of the conversation.
The conversation often starts with some distraction like asking for the time, a light, or directions. It may be that the other person wants to argue with you about something of insignificance.
- Be brief
- Be confident
- Be unemotional
- Be final
“Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances.” — Thomas Jefferson, 1816
- Sign language
(don’t laugh, you know who you are)
Dispense with the idea of winning an argument with a stranger on the street! You have much more to lose by “winning” that game of verbal ping pong than by just walking away!
If you can get away from an aggressor rather than argue, fight, or use a deadly weapon, then go for it. There is not a gazelle in the jungle stupid enough to stop and argue with an angry lion!