Social media has slowly eviscerated the delicacy with which we used to handle subjects like politics and religion. These controversial conversations were once held in-person and only in appropriate situations, such as with close friends or with family members. But today we see everyone’s thoughts broadcasted on social media and personal blogs.
Some would argue that increased transparency is good because now we can openly discuss the most important issues of the day. But when you’re hiding behind a screen, you tend to communicate with more callousness than the decency that in-person discourse necessitates.
A sign of a mature, confident woman is that her value is not threatened by losing an argument. So how can we remain feminine while sharing our political views? Here are five tips:
- Use diplomacy. In other words, show kindness! Diplomacy requires emotional intelligence and empathy, because you need to try to understand where the other person is coming from. Know that every person comes to the table with their own set of presuppositions. Try to begin the conversation with warmth, understanding, and slowness to speak. This will disarm your ideological opponents and set a great tone for a meaningful exchange, because no matter how “right” you or or how much the facts are on your side, the message won’t get through if the person feels unheard.
- Find common ground. Piggybacking off of diplomacy, it’s also important to find common ground with your opponent. Even if your political opinions stand polar opposite, it’s likely you both believe that your ideas will lead to the betterment of mankind; you just believe the avenues to get to that betterment are different. Finding common ground helps to humanize one another, and really helps to keep things civil.
- Leave emotions out of it. Both men and women tend to show emotion when debating about controversial topics, but women’s minds in particular operate in a much more fluid manner as opposed to men’s minds, which are very compartmentalized. This is why women infamously bring up “side issues” when arguing with their men. Manipulating an emotional response is a logical fallacy and has no room in the debate arena. There are many ways to practice debating based on logic. Once you’ve become familiar with fallacies, you’ll be able to recognize them in your opponent’s arguments. After you point them out, room opens up for the actual ideas to stand or fall based on merit.
- Don’t swear. A lady should never use foul language (something I’m trying to de-program out of my own mind, as I have picked up the ugly habit over the past year.) Much like overuse of emotion, swearing can de-legitimize your argument. A wise man once said, “Don’t raise your voice; improve your argument.” An idea that you feel 100% confident in will not need to be defended with yelling or cursing. If your opponent starts doing this, it might be a sign that their idea cannot be defended on its merit.
- End the conversation on a warm note. While we all want to feel that we’ve “won” an argument, it’s a fact of life that sometimes we will lose! No matter the outcome, each participant should have the humility to end cordially and with openness to future discourse.
Strong ideas presented with diplomacy are a beautiful thing to witness! It’s never easy to find the perfect balance of truth and love, but it’s worth the effort if you truly believe that your worldview is superior and know that others would benefit from adopting those ideas. In an internet age, this is something we ALL can improve.