So… I am sure most of you have heard the old adage, “don’t discuss religion or politics”.
Why is that, do you think? I think it is because people get so passionate about their point of view, it seems very possible that the discussion may turn to fist a cuffs. We have seen throughout history polarizing religious thought processes resulting in heartache and war. But in polite conversation, managing anger and frustration is hard…and so we resist it.
Conflict, actually, can be positive or negative, constructive or destructive, based on how we approach, engage and navigate the conflict. Workplace Conflict Solving occurs when people express disagreement without hostility and with a commitment to an effective resolution of the conversation. But in this digital age where people can weigh in on any topic behind the comfort and security of their computer screen or mobile device…well the conversation can get unproductive. Take the reactions to Governor Mike Pence signing Indiana’s controversial “religious freedom” legislation. Indiana’s religious freedom law
Well here are some tips to help you have a constructive conversation about polarizing topics.
- Active listening – do not dismiss an opinion just because it is not in-line with your own( link back to our Did you know tab under Do You Understand me)
- Never demean or belittle intelligence or character of the person you are speaking with
- Have a conversation, respecting other’s opinions…agreeing to disagree if necessary
- Speak your opinion in a non-threatening manner – remember your tone can be polarizing
Many a friendship, family connection and career have been lost by handling this topic without grace and proper manners.
And for you bloggers out there…if you wouldn’t feel comfortable making your comment face to face, I would refrain from posting it. It is a poor reflection on you, that could come back to haunt you.
In the end, disagreements are healthy. In public discourse, there are difficult problems that do not have simple solutions. It is ok to have a conversation and ultimately to agree to disagree with someone. The key word being…Conversation!
We would like to start a conversation…Agree or Disagree, Is that the question?
Lisa & Demetria
Co-Founders Mother, May I – Etiquette Experts