Rules for Political Debates

Feeling down? In need of a pick me up? You’ve come to the right place! I’m about to talk POLITICS. Oh wait. Discussing politics doesn’t usually feel good.

I’ve been pretty busy lately starting a business and haven’t had much time to get into debates. I’m also just weary of it all. What’s with all the debating anyway? Why do we do it? Why do we share all the articles and all the memes? (Why am I writing this blog post?) I believe at the root of the ‘whys’ there is this. We want to change someone’s mind. We want to convince someone that they should stop believing what they believe and start believing what we believe.

The problem is it never works. It never works! I know this. You know this. But we keep doing it anyway. We argue that the other side has the facts all wrong. We present them with the real facts. We go back and forth this way, and the only thing that changes is how angry we are.

What I see happening is a whole lot of yelling and not a lot of listening. The less we feel we are being heard the louder we yell. Vicious cycle.

So what’s the solution? Should we stop discussing politics. I know I have often defaulted to silence. But I’m going to try something else for awhile. I’m going to try to build connection. Here is the formula that I will attempt:

  1. Listen. Actually listen and try to understand where this person is coming from. I don’t have to agree, but I do need to listen.
  2. Look for common ground and highlight the points I agree with.
  3. Speak my mind, but do it kindly. No name calling etc.
  4. Acknowledge the humanity in the person I disagree with. Make sure they know I see them for more than their political beliefs.
  5. Understand that even if I have the best of intentions, my comments may be met with defensiveness. It’s up to me to then diffuse the situation or end the discussion.
  6. Admit when I’m wrong.

If you catch me slipping up, call me out on it. I suspect I will have an easier time with conservatives than I will with my 4 year old, but you never know. I may need your help.

Photo Credit: The Purpose of Argument by jon collier is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

 

Will you be my friend?

Keyboard-Blogging

I have been blogging for almost 5 years now. When I take a step back and think about it, that kind of feels like… wow. Except for I guess I should be a little more honest with that statement. I have had a blog for 5 years now. During which there have been several peaks and valleys of blogging more or less or, well, not at all.

In 2013 I published 20 posts, one every 2 1/2 weeks or so. I followed that up with a whole 2 posts in 2014. Now here I am again and I sort of feel like, “Where did everybody go?” Turns out a lot of my blogging community did the same thing I did. They quit blogging. Or cut way back. And I miss them. I miss the interaction. I miss hearing about a reader’s reaction or input in the comments. I miss reading about their lives on their blogs. I miss the connection and the friendship.

I don’t want to seem ungrateful, because I am. I am grateful for anyone that spends their precious time reading a post on my silly, little blog. I’m grateful for the few bloggers from my past that are still around. And I’m grateful that there are others out there I haven’t met yet.

I’ve been browsing tags and scanning blog rolls and butting into conversations. Basically doing all the things I did when I first started blogging, and it feels a little uncomfortable. It’s like I’m awkwardly asking, “Will you be my friend?”

Because that’s what blogging means to me. It’s not about a microphone or a stats race. I know for some it’s about writing and I can appreciate that. But I’m not really a writer. For me it’s about friendship and connection and community. I want mine back or to find a new one, and I want it now! But that’s not how it works, is it? Just as in real life, it takes time and a little luck to build meaningful relationships.

So I suppose I just need to be patient… I suck at being patient. There, now you know something about me. What should I know about you?

Photo Credit: Blogging? by Anonymous Account is licensed under CC BY 2.0