The surest ways to lose credibility with me are by doing the following in an argument, debate, or other discussion:
Talking louder and longer than your opponent/partner (could be either; some people regard any discussion as an argument and others will scream in your face while claiming you’re only having a discussion), as if speaking the most words and hearing so few of someone else’s will ensure that your point is the most valid and successfully made.
Name-calling, especially of the political variety when the discussion isn’t at all political (ie, “what else would I expect from a liberal” when the topic involves a story about, fuck, I don’t know, Whole Foods or some shit), as if to imply that nothing the other person thinks is at all valid because some of their views, however non-related to the issue at hand, are not the same as yours. Non-politically, name-calling when it involves someone’s weight. This never ever ever ever ever has anything to do with the issue at hand and says a lot more about the name caller’s self-esteem than it does about the true girth of the name-callee. Call me fat if you want, but I know all about how you’ve lost sleep after going up a half a size. And I sleep just fine.
Citing FOX News as a reference. At the very least, you should know your audience. I am not FOX News’ audience.
Claiming that everything a politician does serves some strategic purpose and that all politicians have lied at some point. Hey, congratulations on your renegade way of thinking! Surely this has never occurred to anyone else in the history of ever and must be mentioned in all political discussions as a reminder of how brilliant you are!
Saying “whatever.” Whatever what? Do you know what you’re saying? Do you know what words mean?
Saying “I’m not racist, but…” as this assures me that you are about to say something extremely racist.
Saying “I don’t hate gays, but…” as this assures me that you are about to say something extremely hateful about gays.
Saying “wow.” Specifically, saying “wow” as a way to end an argument, or elicit some kind of a reaction from me because you can’t think of anything to say yet want me to feel like what I’ve said is so totally absurd, unfair, or beyond your capability to understand the concept. Saying “wow” in this way is such a cowardly response and it will never fucking work on me because I don’t talk shit. I know what I’m saying, I’m confident in my opinion, and I can back up what comes out of my mouth. You saying “wow” doesn’t make me re-think my life up to that point. It makes me re-think my familiarity with you, though, because anyone who says “wow” deserves to be punched in the face for crimes of dumbassery.
Save “wow” for appropriate occasions, such as articulating a sense of wonder, awe, or near-breathless amazement. Not for talking yourself into a corner and trying to half-assedly fight your way out.