If you have a different opinion than the person sitting next to you then that’s OK. If you have different political views than your roommate, then that’s OK too. The problem isn’t that we disagree, the problem is we’re not interested in trying to figure out why we disagree. Instead, a lot of us resort to anger and frustration at the other person for failing to “see it my way,” when we’re doing the same exact thing to them.
We see it all too often on social media – two people in an argument, calling each other names and ignoring anything the other has to say. Even in politics, debates seem to focus on attacking the other side instead of focusing on the candidate’s ideas. If we decided to speak about our differences in a considerate and respectful way instead of rushing into a heated argument, we’d all understand each other much better. Rather than jumping headfirst into another argument, we should choose to save some friendships and engage in civil discourse.
First of all, civil discourse is just having a conversation with the intention of understanding each other a little better. It’s impossible to agree with every single person we come across, but instead of disregarding their point of view because it contradicts with our own, we should at least attempt to understand. All it takes is the ability to respect one another, voice your own opinions and listen to what the other person has to say.
Even if you are trying to convince your friend that you’re right, civil discourse will help you a whole lot more than entering into a heated debate with them. If it’s an issue that you’re passionate about, it can be hard to discuss the other side in a rational way. But as soon as you start to attack the other person’s opinions, they will lose respect for yours. If you want the other person to consider your viewpoints and respect your opinions, you have to reciprocate.
You may even learn a thing or two from hearing their reasons in favor of the contrasting viewpoint. You may learn that the other person is in a difficult situation, leading them to support the political candidate you disagree with. You may find out that they knew something you didn’t regarding a controversial issue. Just attempt to figure out where the other person is coming from and you may come to see that their reasons are just as valid as yours.
The best part about civil discourse is you don’t have to come up with some compromise or adjust your beliefs to go along with the other person’s – you can just agree to disagree. You don’t lose anything by choosing civil discourse over a heated argument, but you do gain respect and a better understanding of the other side.