Roughly 50 percent of people voted for one party and 50 percent for the other party. That’s quite a split! How do we have healthy discussions about such divisive topics? Here are 5 ways to respectfully discuss an opinion:
Set some ground rules
In order to have a healthy and productive discussion, some basic rules need to be established and followed. Together you can come up with a few simple rules like no yelling or interrupting and limits on how long one person can speak at a time. If anyone fails to stick to these rules, call a timeout and then resume.
Having a discussion or debate can often mean disagreeing. Although it can be hard at times, it’s best to remain as objective as possible when it comes to heated topics. Try to remove yourself from the emotions by sticking only to the facts.
Keep an open mind
You may believe the other person is crazy for thinking the way they do, but they may think the exact same thing about you! Give yourself a chance to understand them better by listening, putting yourself in their shoes, and requesting the same in return. Avoid asking questions like “How could you possibly think that?” and instead try questions like “What led you to that conclusion?”
Find common ground
Even if your opinions are at opposite ends of the spectrum, you can still try to find some common ground and go from there. If the other person says something you agree with, let them know! Agreeing with each other on certain points won’t invalidate your opinions, but rather can help facilitate a thoughtful discussion.
Don’t take it personally
If it seems like the discussion isn’t going anywhere or has become unproductive, it’s perfectly fine to wrap it up by agreeing to disagree. The goal of your discussion isn’t to change anyone’s mind, but rather offer your point of view and allow the other person to offer theirs. Sometimes you just may not see eye to eye and that’s OK.
With such divisiveness today, it’s important we take the time to show others respect for their beliefs. We can all be both opinionated and open minded!