The Adultitis-Free Way to Win an Argument Every Time


At the most recent Escape Adulthood Summit, a woman named Kate shared an awesome technique for winning arguments.

It all started on a simple premise agreed upon by Kate and her husband. They decided that no matter how angry they were with each other during the course of an argument, if one of them said, “Lincoln Log!” they would both have to laugh.

(Actually, the word they used was “raccoon,” but she joked that it was already taken. Lincoln Log seemed fun — you can use it if you want. So does cantaloupe. Or sasquatch. Use your imagination!)

She described a typical scenario. An argument begins and quickly escalates, with both sides angrily stating their cases. In the heat of the action, just as Kate prepares to unload with both barrels, her husband says, “Raccoon!” At first she thinks to herself, “I CANNOT believe you pulled out “raccoon” right now; I was just about to bury you!” But inevitably, giggles burst free. Before long, both parties get some instant — and much-needed — perspective.

Most arguments usually morph into a match for superiority, with the actual reason for the argument is lost in the desire to win. When you use the “Raccoon” technique, it diffuses the situation in an instant, and cooler heads usually prevail.

Now you may wonder to yourself, “But who actually wins? The person who said the code word? The person who laughs first?”

That’s the coolest part: You both do.

It’s Adultitis that goes home the loser, its head hung in shame.

Your turn: What’s your favorite argument-diffusing technique? What do you think would make a great code word?


  1. Sarah says:

    When an argument is getting too heated, either my husband or I will stick our tongue out at each other. That starts the diffusion process every time.

    • Natasha says:

      We do too! It seems hostile, but it’s so dumb, it tells us we’re both being childish…. Although it does feel good on that lame level.

    • Foolproof!

      Thanks Sarah!

  2. Anonymous says:

    The Lincoln Log trick works with my 3 year-old. I just say “dump truck!” and we argue about whose dump truck is bigger. Sometimes kids just want to argue, and this way, nobody gets mad. Can’t wait to try it with my husband.

  3. My twin sister and I use the code word “Bob” to AVOID agruments. Growing up togehter and still being very close we have over 49 years of the same experiences so when one of us is telling a story and the other one tries to finish the story we say “okay Bob” and smile, a signal to let the person finish telling thier story.