polarizing issues

3 Tips For Speaking About Polarizing Issues With Others

In today’s world, there are all kinds of issues that people find to be polarizing. Polarizing issues can range from anything from political standpoints to how to raise your kids and even your feelings about things like the police and the environment. But in life, we’re going to have to associate and work with people that have differing views from us on these types of things. The trick here is knowing how to speak with people who you might disagree with without both of you losing it. 

To help you figure out how this can best be done, here are three tips for speaking about polarizing issues with others. 

Set A Standard Of Respect

Before you get into any kind of polarizing conversation with someone, it’s best to set some kind of standard for respectful discourse. While this can’t always be outlined ahead of time—like if someone just asks for your opinion out of nowhere or shares their opinion with you of their own accord—once you realize a polarizing conversation is about to start, you can always preface your responses by stating your standard for respect for these kinds of conversations. 

To start, you can state that you’re willing to discuss this as long as the conversation stays civil and that a respectful dialogue can take place. This should be a requirement from both sides. And if it comes to a point where you are feeling disrespected as a person, or if the other side feels like you’ve overstepped your bounds, both parties should be able to safely leave the conversation. Otherwise, a constructive conversation should be able to take place.

Seek To Understand Their Background

Oftentimes, when people feel strongly about something, it’s because they have had a strong experience with this thing. And when it comes to polarizing issues, intense experiences can often happen on both sides of the argument. So before you start making judgments about the person who has a different opinion of you, you may want to seek to understand what their background is.

As you learn about the person that you’re having a conversation with, you should be able to see what from their past is informing their opinions. Not only will learning more about the person you’re speaking with help you to see why they think the way they do, but it will also help you see this person as a real person and not just someone who might be trying to rile you up. 

Recognize Your Own Bias

Along with learning about the person you’re speaking with, you should also try to learn more about yourself and what biases you might be bringing into conversations about polarizing issues. 

Everyone is going to have some kind of bias as part of their opinions. But once you can recognize what you think and what is causing you to think that way, you might be more open to having conversations with people whose opinions differ from yours as a way to enlighten yourself even more. 

If you want to have constructive conversations when speaking to others about polarizing issues, consider implementing some of the tips mentioned above. 

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