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Going by what I see in debates and intelligent articles on controversial issues, I cannot. I always seem to speak in concepts rather than examples, and I have to circle my argument around several times before I can connect all the points how I want to. It comes out as something akin to a rant rather than a moving advocation, unless I spend an absurd amount of time on it. Then when I hear someone else's argument, I have no trouble sympathizing with them; the points that they make resonate with me and make perfect sense, right up until a better argument refutes them.

It is extremely frustrating, because I feel incapable of voicing my opinion and at the same time very unintelligent, incapable of even trusting myself. I am wondering if it is perhaps an example of me empathizing with others and being abstract, thus being ill equipped to refute other peoples assertions unless they cross my values, or if I am literally verbally retarded. Anyone out there sympathize?

Edit: @rbgj, Aha, but I spent an hour typing this up! That made me laugh though :laughing:
 

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You argued pretty good right there!
 

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Yes, sympathize completely. 'Circling' is an apt description of what happens; my arguments are full of digressions, which I usually feel are necessary preludes to my main point. It exasperates ExTJs - who are great at linear argument - in particular.

Concision is a great value, especially in our time-poor world. I believe it can be learned with practice. I've even thought about joining something like Toastmasters to improve my skills, only it seems kind of hellishly formal. They have gavels, apparently.

(I can't even summarize a movie plot handily. I talk instead about its themes, the cinematography, direction, nuances of performances, or try to situate it in comparison to other films. One exercise in narrative/exposition - from a writing class I once took - is to do that, to write 1-3 sentence capsule descriptions of plots. May pick it up again...)

edit: maybe I'm just a blowhard.
 

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I think i can argue, although i have to prepare myself for whatever i may be arguing. If an argument arises out of the blue then i too speak in concepts. What i try to do to combat this would be to not prove my point but disprove the opposing argument. Doing so is the best way to argue against someone, and being able to argue for both sides of a topic allows one to be able to combat almost anything that is going against your statement.
 

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Absolutely. I won debate competitions all the time. I can also destroy my aunt and her two sons in scientific argument, even though my aunt is a doctor and both of her sons are engineers, and I'm just a degreeless wage slave. It doesn't take a genius to argue well; all it takes is a critical, open mind and some logical reasoning skills.
 

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I can argue very well.

The only problem: a lot of time other people can't understand what I'm saying. Not in terms of intelligence, I'm not trying to say I'm smarter than everyone, just that their brains work differently than mine. So even though what I say makes perfect sense to me and totally wins the argument, I'm sometimes the only one who is actually convinced of that.

But I do see your point about concepts, and having trouble connecting them all, and sometimes this does happen to me, but less when I'm trying to argue a point to a person and more when I'm, say, trying to argue for the thesis in a paper. But -- and this is very much a sign of my NF-ness -- I always have to work things out in my head. Some people swear by making tons of notes and outlines ... but if something, an argument or the organization needed to argue a thesis, don't just come together in my head in nearly complete form, I end up sounded disjointed. For many people I think it's the other way around. They have ideas in their head and they connect them on paper. But it doesn't work that way for me at all.

Another thing I think INFPs have going for them in terms of argument, is our P side. I feel like J are more inflexible when it comes to their viewpoints. Therefore, they're not as able to take in new pieces of information and assimilate them to use. But as a P, I can listen to what someone else says and adapt my own argument, making it easier to argue my own point.
 

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Just gotta exercise what you feel you don't do enough. Argue the concept, but bolster it with examples. Don't be afraid of juggling multiple dimensions, just make sure to use paragraphs and transition sentences where needed so the entire argument is easier to follow.
 

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Whenever I argue I'm usually passionate about what I'm arguing about, so sometimes I can get really angry.
This.

Also, I usually hate arguing because most of the time people don't argue for a solution, but rather just want to be right and "win" the argument. That annoys the hell out of me when arguing with people because quite a few just refuse to listen, at all.
 

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I took an intro to symbolic logic in my second year of university. It helped a lot.

Introduction to Symbolic Logic

I also find it helps to be as efficient as possible with my sentences/statements, and to never be afraid to dumb-down an argument with an apt analogy.

Also, don't debate things you know little about... you'll almost always look like a fool. Being educated on a subject will help you speak with confidence as well as stop you from second guessing your own arguments.

Or, if all else fails, make a joke and avoid the argument altogether :)
 

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Much better in person as opposed to text or even over the phone. In person you can gauge how to position your arguments more effectively.
 

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I Debate but as soon as it starts to become circular or pointless i get bored and irritated and discontinue the debate
 
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I like to fancy myself as a person who argues well.

Though, I believe I used to be like you and structure my arguments (whether they be written or oral) mainly off of concepts rather than examples. Then in my junior of high school, my English teacher challenged to me to make my arguments more concrete and accessible by supporting all my conceptual claims with examples. She also challenged me to do so in a relatively concise and systematic manner. Basically, I used to go on and on about certain claims and points that I assumed other people understood because I could easily visualize the logical deductions that led me to the claims. I assumed everything was self-explanatory. My English teacher taught whether or not something is self-explanatory, I must lay it out on the line or else no one will ever believe I am actually saying anything worthwhile.

Ever since then, I have been able to write kickass essays in my sleep (if I may indulge in a bit of arrogance... I feel like someone might pull up some old post of mine from this site and prove I am a terrible writer, but whatever).

I don't think I have ever "sympathized" with someone else's argument. I attempt to be open-minded and reason through another person's argument in order to find out who actually has the better points, and at times this makes me grow quiet for extended periods. I just don't think this is a sign of poor intelligence or anything else along those lines. i am just thorough and open to other possibilities. It usually doesn't take too long before I have cemented my opinion on the matter, though there are definitely times when people have me stumped. My brain starts to hurt and I honestly can't decided which side of the argument I like better. Oh, well. Despite my previous arrogance, I would never claim to be a genius. I am just fairly good at what I do.
 
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I can argue, but I'm rather selective when it comes to what I'm arguing about, and to whom. If it's something that I'm passionate about, be it something or someone I like/love, then chances are I'm pulling out all the stops.

If I see that the other(s) is getting hurt because of our argument, I'll probably stop once I get my point across...sometimes I'll let the others win, or I'll just walk away.

I don't argue for entertainment value. I'd rather not do it, but I'll engage in arguments to make a point/help people if need be.

...I think I went a bit off topic .______.
 
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