When to Walk Away From an Argument

Some people can have an intelligent debate for an hour, while others lose their cool in the first 5 minutes. Modern Manners Guy has 3 tips on how to walk away from an argument without losing your cool, your reputation, and your manners.

Richie Frieman
5-minute read
Episode #280

I love watching someone’s ego get in the way of common sense during an argument. And by love, I mean I love to laugh hysterically at it.  

Some people can get so self absorbed, they don’t realize they’re in way too deep in an argument that has no end in sight. So because someone would rather yell back and forth until they’re blue in the face, they lose the opportunity to walk away with grace and class.

We’ve all been in this situation ourselves or witnessed it happening.


But walking away is not giving up or giving in -- it’s about ending an argument on your terms.   When you’re disagreeing with someone and you see that you're in an unwinnable spot, the key is to walk away before you end up in a scenario where it’s nothing but irrational views 24/7.

So how to know when to walk away and when to fight the good fight? Check out my top 3 Quick and Dirty Tips for how walking away from an argument:

Tip #1: Know Your Opponent

Okay, so maybe the person you’re arguing with is not really an “opponent” in the fighting sense. However, sometimes you’ll encounter people with viewpoints you consider so off base, that you start to shout expletives like an NFL coach disputing a referee. Sadly, there is no yellow flag that you could toss into an argument from the sidelines. You need to do that yourself. To throw the metaphorical yellow flag, you have to look at the person across from you and figure out what type of person they really are. After you figure that out, you'll now know how deep you can go and when to walk away.

If your opponent gets heated after your first rebuttal, be prepared to pack your bags soon.

One way to understand your opponent in an argument is to listen to how fast they lose their temper. When you’re arguing with a rather sane person, the argument is more of a discussion, or a healthy debate. But when you’re arguing with an irrational lunatic, an argument can quickly become a fight, and you never want that happen. So knowing how quickly your opponent can get off balance is a good gauge as to when you should walk away.

If your opponent gets heated after your first rebuttal, be prepared to pack your bags soon. How soon? Well, that depends on the type of conversation. But in any argument, the key is to make your point and leave with your pride and reputation intact. If the other person is willing to get nasty early on, this is your cue to drop your sword, smile, and simply walk away.