7 Secrets to Arguing About Current Events With People That Just Don't Get It

Curated via Twitter from Glamour’s twitter account….

Speaking of messaging, an important argument isn’t the time to hold back in the name of diplomacy. “In the political and activist arena, sometimes antagonism and outrage are more appropriate than reason and finding common ground,” says Dana L. Cloud, Ph. D. , director of graduate studies in the department of communication and rhetorical studies at Syracuse University. “It’s important to teach all oppressed people, including women, to become confident in speech because confrontation is the only effective strategy to show that certain ideas have no place in our society. ” However, harsh terms like liar, bigot, or fascist are more effective when you’re not calling names, so try calmly explaining why experts are comparing some of the President’s actions to dictators like Hitler and Stalin, rather than just label Trump one out of context.

Before you can argue well about anything serious, you have to get over the natural craving for approval. “Women tend to want to be liked, so we may back off too easily from our positions when we sense others aren't agreeing,” says Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph. D. , professor of psychological and brain sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. “Because the stereotyped view of women is that we agree with others—and if we don't, we’re nasty women—it's important to ground yourself in your position and stick with it when you're trying to persuade others. ” So, if you’re at a dinner party and someone starts talking about how Planned Parenthood will be fine even if it’s defunded, don’t keep quiet just because you don’t want to make a scene.

Offering background on why you have strong feelings about an issue can promote mutual empathy, according to Daly, which makes it easier to be persuasive. “I come from India, where women are abused at home, there’s female feticide, and patriarchal society makes it all but impossible for women to make progress on issues like education and equal pay,” says Kalpana, a 33-year-old management consultant in New York City. “That’s why I believe anything that curtails women’s growth and security shouldn’t be tolerated. ” Sharing personal details like this will humanize you to your opponent, help them understand your reasoning, and make them likelier to concede that you’re making a good point.

Occasionally it might make sense (say, if you’re arguing with a 90-year-old grandparent), but in most situations, that’s actually taking the easy way out. “In my view you should never resign yourself to agree to disagree,” says Cloud. “I’m not going to tolerate a bigot, a person who opposes marriage equality, or someone who condones sexual assault. ” If you’re dealing with a loved one, Cloud suggests breaking off the conversation and expressing sadness that your positions aren’t reconcilable.

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