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The Socratic Method – A Useful Tool To Handle Everyday Agreements


Constructive arguments make any relationship healthy, be that emotional or otherwise. Yet, when the participants begin to lose their temper, arguments get heated, and both parties end up feeling frustrated and hurt. Luckily, this can be avoided by using the Socratic method.

What is the Socratic Method?

The Socratic method or questioning is like a dialogue which involves asking and answering questions that will enable you to defend your position by getting people to see things from your perspective.

The method was named after the great Greek philosopher Socrates. During his conversations with his students he would ask them a question after a question until he proved that the beginning assumption was actually a fallacy.

So, instead of arguing back and forth and forcing your opinion down the other person’s throat, you ask questions so as to make them think about and look at the situation from your own point of view rather than just verbalize their own feelings and opinion about the subject at hand.

For example, imagine the following situation: You come home late and your boyfriend/girlfriend gets mad at you and starts shouting at and accusing you of cheating on them. You have two options.

You can start defending yourself by denying your partner’s accusations and come up with all kinds of excuses and even start yelling at them as well and turn the argument into a drama. Or you can use the Socratic method and ask them something like: “Why are you so mad? What made you think I’d do that? Are you upset because I came home late or because you don’t trust me?”

In this way, you’ll avoid hurting your partner’s feelings, but also show that you want to listen to them and encourage them to express how they feel. 

Yet, make sure you don’t ask your questions in a forceful manner because this will put pressure on the other person and only worsen the whole situation.

This useful tool will not only prevent you from creating unnecessary drama and conflict and feeling stressed out, but it’ll also help you to reach a resolution to the conflict. Either your partner will see that they wrongly accused you or you’ll realize that you were wrong.

The Socratic method can be used in debates among more people as well. For example, if you’re talking to someone or to a group of people who are pro animal testing and you’re against it, the Socratic questioning would be the best way for you to make your point clear, but also to make the other party give up their assumption and arguments themselves.

For example, instead of saying “Animals aren’t meant to be tested”, you can ask them “Do you really think animals should be used in experiments?” and so on.

These questions will make the other party look at the issue from your perspective and save you from spending a lot of time debating and trying to convince them to believe in your point of view.

The Socratic method is especially beneficial when it’s your loved one who is on the receiving end of your argument. So, you need to know how to appropriately form and present your arguments. After all, no one wants to threaten and hurt the feelings of the people they hold dear.

So, next time when you find yourself in an argument, make sure you don’t react hastily and throw your points in the other person’s face and try to convince them. Instead, give the Socratic method a shot.