How to Hold Your Own in a Debate with Someone with a Thinking-Judging Preference

During a disagreement, people with a Thinking-Judging (TJ) preference are typically extremely confident. They usually believe that they are right, and that the other party is not seeing the facts clearly.   This attitude of certainty can be extremely intimidating for others, especially people with a strong Feeling preference.  However, with the right approach, you can hold your own in a debate with a person with a TJ preference.   Here’s how.


1.      Be Logical in Your Explanations

People with a TJ preference trust logic.   This is because Extraverted Thinking (Te) is their dominant (ENTJ, ESTJ) or auxiliary (INTJ, ISTJ) function.  If you feel that a person with a TJ preference committed a transgression, be prepared to explain what it is and to be able to provide examples of the behavior.  For TJ people, using your feelings as a primary argument will not resonate with them. For them to get where you’re coming from, you must be able to logically explain how their perceived transgression led to your current emotional state. 


2.      Check All Your Facts

Don’t expect to be able to go into a debate with someone with a TJ preference and finesse your way through it with inconsistencies, half-truths and distortions.   People with a TJ preference are born to be tax auditors, attorneys, inspectors, lab technicians etc.  In other words, they are extremely detailed oriented people, and will uncover any inconsistencies in your story. Prior to going to war with a TJ, make sure that all of your facts are correct.  Otherwise, expect to be embarrassed and exposed as a fraud.


3.      Keep Your Cool Discussing an Issue with Them

People with a TJ preference do not respond well to emotionality.  For them, it strengthens their default assumption that you’re wrong and they’re right.   Less mature folks with a TJ preference may even purposely say mean things to try to get a rise out of you.   Others have good intentions, but still come off as blunt or coarse.   When debating with a TJ, always try to keep your cool.  Doing so will help ensure that you execute tips #1 and #2 above effectively.


4.      Listen to What’s Being Said, Not How Its Being Said

This is especially true if you’re debating with a TJ who you know truly cares about you.  People with a TJ preference tend to not sugar coat things, and say what’s on their mind.  Instead of getting upset, listen to the essence of what they are saying.  Often times, you’ll find that your TJ may be giving you a valuable gift in ugly wrapping paper!   Due to their emphasis on facts and details, TJs are often spot on when it comes to situations.  So instead of getting defensive or offended, listen to what they are saying as opposed to how they're saying it.

Having a debate with a person with a TJ preference can be an extremely intimidating experience. Hopefully the advice above helps you in that endeavor. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll get one of them to admit that they are wrong!