When we encounter a person that tells us a new story, we unconsciously ask ourselves three questions:
- Does that person know what she is talking about?
- Even if she does, is she trying to trick me?
- Do I identify with the this person’s values and worldview?
So let’s assume your best friend believes that you know what you are talking about, she also believes, that you are not going to trick her. But she can’t identify with your worldview. To you, climate change is the most urgent matter of our times and you believe that we need to change our lifestyle in order to get anywhere. Your best friend beliefs, that yes, climate change exists, but if it was that bad, the authorities would have do something about it and changing her personal lifestyle seems senseless to her, as she is only one in many.
How do you find a bridge between these two opposing ideas?
First of all: people who have a strong opinion about something hardly ever change it. It’s due to our evolutionary process of ‘sticking to something, even if wrong, is better than constantly changing your mind’.
In the last decades, we came to learn, that we need to debate, that we need arguments and good reasoning in order to win someone over. And yes, we need all this.
But arguments are not enough.
Instead of engaging someone in a debate it proofed a lot more effectual to engage someone in a dialogue.
Here is some of the main differences between debating and dialoguing with your best friend.
|assuming there is only one answer||assuming others have pieces to of the answer|
|about winning||about finding common ground|
|listening for flaws||listening to understand|
|defending assumptions||exploring assumptions|
|pushing your outcome||discovering new possibilities|
|asymmetries of engagement||seeking constructive process|
You won’t convince anyone by arguments. Unless you are able to change someone’s values and worldviews in that very moment, start engaging in a dialogue. It will be a lot more fruitful and your best friend will still like you.