8 conditions for a good discussion

If everyone agreed, the world would be boring and monotonous. Different opinions or views about the world can be a source of conflict. The trick is to be able to talk to yourself while keeping your emotions to a minimum. Which traditionally is not that simple. Creative criticism, doubts, undermining the well-established truths are the domain of, for example, the world of science. If researchers were unable to solve the problems of mutual discussion, the blood at universities would probably flow thickly. There are a few rules that should be used in a creative dispute, so that you can turn it into something constructive, and not throw more and more fleshy invectives at each other.

1. Mutual respect.

This is a condition for any meaningful relationship in the discussion. Concentrate based on the arguments, not the arguments by force. The use of invectives, insulting the opponent personally is an expression of total weakness, proof of the lack of arguments and only pure, furious emotions. I may not agree with your views, but I respect you. Disrespect now only means a conflict based on mutual aggression.

2. Common parts.

The basic rule is that the facts did not discuss. If it’s 10 degrees Celsius outside, take this standard as a common standard, and not insist on weighing the temperature with a laboratory balance. Recognized, confirmed facts and scientific evidence are the basis of the substantive axis of the discussion. It is difficult to talk to someone who thinks that the Earth is flat, the sky is green and that man is a jam-absorbing person. Someone may think so, of course, it is up to him, but to deny the empirical evidence that has been corroborated by the scientific world is simply stupid today.

3. Distinguish facts from their interpretation.

The facts may be the same, but their interpretations are radically different. For Eskimos, +5 degrees Celsius is heat, unlike an inhabitant of Africa. You don’t have to convince the other side of your interpretation. Use mutual respect, i.e., you may differ in your assessment of the same events and no one will fall off the hat for this reason. Do not turn discussion into competition, it is better to convince whom. One likes a cream cookie and another one without. It is neither surprising nor the basis for a better-worse assessment. He just has a different view of it.

4. Admitting that you are wrong is not a tragedy.

The discussions not meant to be a life and death struggle. This is a duel of arguments, not fists. If your opponent’s argument really breaks yours, don’t use arguments that go against logic, don’t use false or unverified information. Yes, you can be wrong and that is not dishonorable to you at all. It is human to be wrong and to err, and believing that you are the best in the world makes it easy to fall into megalomania.

5. Too many interpretations.

You are what you read, what you watch and what you listen to. Your views and point of view shape by the media you deal with. Even, if you feel you are in control. If you are not dealing with the media and, for example, you live in a forest, then those with whom you have contact will have the greatest influence on you. The media provides two things: facts and their interpretation. Start by distinguishing between what is one and what is the other. A feature of media independence is the fact that people with different views (interpretations) of the same facts allowed for discussion. Does the media you’re dealing with do this? Do they invite people with different views? Or are they focusing only on one point of view, while discrediting anyone who thinks otherwise? Sophisticated social engineering is like a drizzle, you won’t even feel it when you succumb to it. Search for various sources of information, observe how they are interpreted differently.

6. “And with you, they beat Afro-Americans.”

This is the so-called sophism, or the tactic of “turning the cat’s tail”. Mixing truth with fiction, or using facts to create a completely false thesis. Often used as a distraction. The method used in the propaganda of the USSR, where the only response to the critical discussion about the system was no substantive reference to arguments (the so-called argumentum ad hominem).

7. Epithets as adjectives.

A way of discussing deliberately and casually disavowing the opponent. You can say “you have dirty shoes!”, But also “you still have dirty shoes ridiculing you”. The inclusion of epithets in a statement proves a lack of respect for the other party, i.e., rejection of the first, basic principle of the will to reach agreement. Pay attention to it and react. Your audience may find that if you don’t respond, you agree with the behavior.

8. Infotainment.

One of the poisons of modern times is infotainment. Each of us can be a medium today and write what he likes on the Internet, using unverified information or using clumsy logic. Based on content from all kinds of websites, it is easy to conclude that the Earth is flat, the world ruled by secret conspiracies, Copernicus was a woman. Planes spray deadly chemicals in the sky. The key to a meaningful argument is the gradation of credibility, even though everyone is equal in the network. On the other hand. The problem of credible media that obey the principles of modern journalism is infotainment, i.e., deliberately creating a conflict between interlocutors. By inviting fierce antagonists, questions like “Mr. Johnson said you were an idiot, could you comment on that?”. To secure viewership bars. Sensational headlines on the Internet or provocative leads serve the same purpose. The media, in competition with each other, use various tricks to attract attention, and we do not always like these methods. Infotainment radically reduces the credibility of the media. Therefore, it happens that someone indiscriminately believes in the outspoken uncle George. Who most often (although it is immediately known where he was and what he saw there) after the third bottle of whiskey, leaves no doubt as to the accuracy of the argument. If you think otherwise, you’d better not reveal yourself. Uncle George can refute any argument, if not with a baseball bat but with a club, always sealing it with a bitter curse.

Each discussion, although it may be very dynamic, loud and very emotional, cannot be treated as a sword with which we want to destroy the opponent. The Polish national feature, which is a major obstacle in substantive disputes, is the lack of separation of emotions from the main disagreement of views. The trick is that even though we do not agree on something — we accept this disagreement, having the amount of respect that allows us to talk to each other normally. It is not an art to insult and destroy an opponent in a discussion today — the trick is not to destroy relationships in the family, in marriage or at work, despite different views.


Emotions are like a volcano, they can build but also destroy the greatest friendship, great love or a multigenerational family.

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