In talking with many people, I’ve found that some people simply enjoy drama and arguments. Most people are reluctant to admit it, as this is typically frowned upon in our society. But there is a certain thrill in challenging a person or winning a debate. So, is it bad to like to argue? How much arguing is too much? Take the following quiz to see if you’re an arguer.
This argumentativeness scale is adapted from “A conceptualization and measure of argumentativeness” 1982 article by Infante and Rancer.
True or False:
1. Arguing over controversial issues improves my intelligence.
2. Arguing with a person creates more problems than it solves.
3. I am energetic and enthusiastic when I argue.
4. When I finish arguing with someone, I feel nervous and upset.
5. I have a pleasant, good feeling when I win a point in an argument.
6. I prefer being with people who rarely disagree with me.
7. I enjoy defending my point of view on an issue
8. I try to avoid getting into arguments.
9. I consider an argument to be an exciting intellectual challenge.
10. I find myself unable to think of effective points during an argument.
Scoring: Give yourself one point for every odd numbered question that you answered true and subtract one point for every even number that you answered true.
Hopefully, your score is zero, or close to it. A high score (3 or more) suggests that you love to argue. While a low score (‐3 or less) indicates that you dislike arguing and will go to great lengths to avoid arguments. Both low and high scores can be problematic. Arguing is not inherently bad. But someone who overly enjoys arguing can change a simple discussion into an epic battle. Many people do not care to have a 20‐minute debate over which type of lettuce is best in salads. To everyone except arguers, this type of discussion becomes boring and irritating. If it happens too often, then relationships suffer as people will avoid you in order to avoid the argument. Furthermore, many arguments can become heated with cursing, name‐calling, or other insults; all of which most certainly will harm the relationship. Arguers tend to believe they are just being assertive, when this is actually aggressive behavior. They tend to focus on winning the argument at any cost. On the other hand, it’s not good to avoid all arguments either. I bet you know someone who avoids confrontation like the plague. They tend to be kind, friendly people, but often end up as door mats. They are afraid of being seen as aggressive. They may even go so far as to not give their opinions or stand up for themselves in order to maintain peace. They can been seen as boring or even a ‘teacher’s pet’ type for always agreeing with others and not disclosing their own beliefs. Admitting the problem is the first step. Assertiveness is a wonderful thing, but it can be tricky. So, if you find yourself being too aggressive (or too passive), instead of assertive, then get help. Identify the behaviors that you want to change and start changing them. Contact a therapist if you need help, as most are familiar with assertiveness training.