Arguing online happens, but there are techniques you can use to prevent it. Tom Merritt offers five tips to avoid online arguments.

Arguing online is a somewhat unfortunate national pastime. You just want to express a thought on the latest episode of The Mandalorian, and the next thing you know you’re in an all-caps fight about monetary policy in New Zealand or something equally off topic. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are five tips to help you avoid getting in an argument online. 

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  1. Don’t do it online. When you feel like arguing, turn to someone in real life instead–who doesn’t mind indulging you, of course–and get those thoughts out of your head, or even write them down just to yourself.
  2. Post your thoughts and then move on. This is for those times when you find you just can’t resist. Once you’ve made your post, turn off notifications and don’t get drawn back in. When you say your piece and leave it at that, it’s much more persuasive, even if it doesn’t feel that way.
  3. Wait. Don’t respond in the heat of the moment when you first see a response. Give yourself a cool-down period. After that, only respond to the productive comments, not the ones that are trying to get you angry.
  4. Use empathy. Respond the way you would want to be responded to–not with attacks. You can even just write something neutral like, “I hear you.”
  5. Substitute another activity. Go for a run, garden, duel, or do whatever hobby makes you feel happy and not enraged. You may find at the end you don’t care about the argument anymore.

It’s harder than ever these days to avoid the online flame war, but it is possible. Hopefully, some of these tips can help you have a calmer life online. 

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