How to debate someone

angry-mobHello everyone.

Today, I’d like to discuss how to engage in a lively debate with someone, be it a co-worker, friend or neighbor.

There’s always a hot topic brewing if you want to instigate a confrontation… um, I mean conversation.

You see, you just can’t have a conversation on the internet via keyboard and screen.  There’s no inflection, pensive looks, and approving head-nodding.  Devoid of emotion, the words can and often are taken with different meaning based on the reader and their viewpoints.  Thence, the birth of the internet tough guy.

I have opinions, some of them very strong, based on the experience of years and reinforced by repair bills and court costs.  Well, not court costs; we all know anything that happens in Canada doesn’t count when I’m required to disclose past run-ins with the law.  I’ve debated with others, most often co-workers, over plenty of taboo, weighty topics which have caused many a bar fight that you aren’t supposed to touch.  Examples are: religion, politics, Ford vs Chevy, favorite NASCAR driver, vaccinations, aliens among us, gun control/2nd Amendment, government conspiracy, prepping/societal collapse, nontraditional lifestyles, and so much more.

The thing is, you need to realize going into a conversation with another person that what you should be after is the REASON for their point of view.  If we talk about something, I’m not expecting to change your mind about it, and I hope you aren’t expecting me to become a quick convert either.  However, there is no reason we can’t explain why we feel a certain way and try to understand those positions.  If you think to yourself, though, “He doesn’t see my point of view; I will now speak LOUDER so he realizes the error of his ways!”, then we’re not going to get very far.

Too often, I think we’re more concerned with making someone else see our point of view than understanding why we hold those views in the first place.  So often arguments quickly devolve into “Well, you don’t see it my way even after I explained it.  You, therefore, are a dumbass and I will now repeat everything AGAIN, but this time slower and with more arm movements.”

I hate to break it to you, but I may not convert to your viewpoint.  I will, however, listen to your reasons because I don’t think your point of view is more or less valid than my own.  We can chat and then figure out if either of us has changed an opinion.  We may each think ourselves totally vindicated afterwards and that the other person is on the wrong track, which is fine too.  We just need to have the good sense to keep our damn mouths shut about that last part.   That’s really important, because we are still allowed to have our own opinions, even if they piss others off.  I just prefer to keep mine to myself for the most part, because it’s a lot easier to find someone looking for an argument than someone looking for a new viewpoint on something.

However, I do have to close with the thought that if you think there’s a better NASCAR driver than Dale Earnhardt, The Intimidator, you do in fact suck.

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