Because truth is bigger than any individual, and each person on either side of an issue has a different perspective, bridges are foundational to learning, growth and discovery of truth. Do whatever you can to avoid burning bridges and to preserve relationship with those with whom you disagree.
BBelieve the Best of the other. Don’t assume the other person is ignorant, arrogant, closed-minded, or hypocritical. This excuses us from listening to their perspective and burns a bridge before it can form. Also avoid premature labeling, pigeon holing the person into one stereotype or ideological camp.
RRespect at all times. Make every effort to preserve goodwill and relationship, believing that the other has a perspective you need. Give respect even to those who don’t deserve it. Refuse to respond in kind to what sounds like a rude or inflammatory remark; this maintains personal integrity and keeps doors open for future dialogue. You don’t have to have respect for the person in order to show them respect.
IInsulting and name-calling are prohibited. Avoid the aggressive “jab,” sticking it to them with your word choice. Be gentle with people; no one is won over by being demeaned. Choose words carefully since the other can’t hear your tone, see your body language or read your facial expressions.
DDelay commenting. Pause before posting. Check your attitude first; knee-jerk responses are usually not helpful. For many issues, strong views backed by deeply held convictions, when confronted, ignite passionate words. Responding in anger rarely goes well; the emotional venom poisons the dialogue.
GGather information. Data/evidence from reliable sources is important. Opinions without evidence hold little water. Address ideas and attack arguments over confronting people and personalities. Focus on words and actions you can see over character and motives you can’t see.
EEmpathize before you criticize. Seek understanding of the other first. Truly listen to the perspectives – facts, feelings, and rationale – of those who oppose your views. Look for common ground, points of agreement, rather than just focusing on points of disagreement; this builds bridges of trust, enabling the other to receive another perspective.
SShow Self-awareness. Admit when you’re wrong, when you don’t know or have all the information, and when the other side has a good argument. “Winning” the debate often doesn’t mean winning over the person. If the other can’t or won’t receive the truth you’re speaking, leave it with goodwill (rather than insulting or minimizing them for not believing or receiving it). You are not responsible for how others respond to your words; you are only responsible for the words you use and the attitude behind them.
Please respond to posts on takeontruth. Do fact checking. Scrutinize logic. The truth is that the truth is usually somewhere between the extremes. I hope to hear and discuss “both sides” of the issues, and if I miss it in my first take on the truth then I believe that in the context of respectful relationship with others, as they share their perspectives, we will together stumble upon deeper truths. The only way to take truth on yourself is to confront it (take it on) as I, or another blogger give their take on the truth. Cool, huh?