Often when I listen to people argue or rant, I wonder if it is possible to state your opinions in a loving but firm way. Why is it that we seem to be our worst selves when we talk about controversial issues with those who disagree?
Despite how hurtful debating can be, there is a way to do it without inflicting harm. In fact, you can disagree with someone but both walk away wiser and happier because of the conversation. However, before you can debate in this manner, you need to know what not to do. This video shows some mistakes that we often make when arguing with others.
If those are things that we should not do, what are some ways that we can respond fairly when stating our ideas to another person? I am certainly not good at doing this especially with my Aspergers, but here are a few questions that I have learned to ask myself before beginning to rant. They are reminders that want to incorporate more into my relationships to help me when I begin to become frustrated.
- “Is this worth it?” – Is this topic worth arguing about? Sure, it annoys me that they think pink is an ugly color. However, do I really need to fight to my love of pink? Probably not.
- “Are they open?” – Is the person you are talking to open to hearing another viewpoint? If he or she is completely closed, maybe you are wasting your time by trying to change their mind.
- “Am I open?” – Are you willing to sincerely listen to the other side? Be honest about this question. If you are not, admit that to yourself.
- “What is my goal in arguing?” – Do you want to convert someone to your side or simply understand a different angle? Neither response is bad necessarily, but you need to take your own motive into consideration.
- “How will this debate impact my relationship?” – This is perhaps the most important question. Are you willing to lose a friend over an argument? Maybe the answer is yes if this topic is important enough to you. However, be sure to weigh the consequences.
What are some questions that you ask yourself before arguing or debating? Hopefully these ones will be helpful so that we can learn to disagree without hurting the other people involved.