In his guide to staying empathetic and self-aware in conflict, our staff writer Angel Eduardo outlined three ideas that can help to keep difficult conversation healthy, respectful, and productive.
Things are complicated: Much of our public discourse depends on distilling people, ideas, and arguments into easily digestible headlines, soundbites, and narratives. Don’t fall for that. None of us are two-dimensional—we’re all people here.
Compassion matters: Remember, we didn’t always know what we know now. We can all remember moments when someone offered us compassionate guidance rather than righteous condemnation, and can easily see how it helped us grow.
Try and stay mindful: To keep the conversation productive, take note of topics that get you riled up, and take a break when you find yourself getting agitated. And take special care when arguing in public, where things can escalate quickly.
Remember, you are not your opinions. Conversations go more smoothly when you both feel respected and you’re focused on discussing ideas, not tearing each other down. Here’s some language you can try (courtesy of Brené Brown, vulnerability expert):
Check out our tips for planning kind confrontations with colleagues, and Angel's guide to having difficult conversations.