Whether it’s online or in person, people can be very in your face with their opinions and frankly, our world does a lousy job of navigating differences in thoughts, ideas and beliefs.
As we get closer to another election, now more than ever being able to handle a different opinion is going to be crucial when it comes to our stress and anxiety levels. So what are some things we should try?
First, if at all possible, speak face to face. Tone, facial expressions, etc. are lost in text messages or Facebook posts.
Consider the other person’s viewpoint first and restate it to show that you understand or comprehend what they are saying.
Share your thoughts using “I-statements” – “I feel this …” or “I thought that …,” versus statement that begin with “you” – “you don’t know what you are talking about,” for instance. Using the word “you” can sound accusatory.
Finally, try to find common ground. Areas of agreement. And respectfully agree to disagree on points of contention.
The goal is not to get people to agree with us, but to be able to co-exist and respectfully discuss our differences. Being able to do this is not only healthy, but mature.
**Eric has his Masters in Counseling and when not on B105.7, works as a private practice counselor.**
Photo Credit: Getty Images/jacoblund