Every now and then I find myself in a conversation that turns into a debate. Usually a simple 'I don't agree with that' sparks it. I try to avoid such debates since I find them frustrating when the other person is jumping from concept to concept, being emotional, or just wants to argue for the sake of arguing. However, I will engage if there are others listening to the conversation/debate in hopes of influencing them.
In the past most informal debates have enraged me (especially when dealing with the irrational). Please share your thoughts on when, why, and how you engage with a person during an informal debate (any social situation), and when you decide it's just not worth it.
I have learned that as an informal debate is starting it helps if you can agree to not contradict yourselves. This seems to be a great way to influence the people listening. Pointing out a contradiction your opponent makes seem to really resonate. I also start by saying that the point of the debate is to be right, so if there is any error in my logic I want to correct it. I will ask the other person if that is true for them too.