How to hold a civil discussion | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 12, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, September 12, 2019

How to hold a civil discussion

We aren’t perfect human beings. We all have flaws. However, if it is your vice to interrupt people in the midst of discussions and not let them speak, then this is for you.

CHEW GUM

I know, you must be wondering what chewing gum has to do with holding civil conversations. Well, chewing gum has many benefits, starting from burning 11 calories a year by chewing gum an hour every day to boosting brain performance. The latter should be pertinent here given you’re trying to absorb the information. Just chew on your gum and listen to what the other person is saying. It will also help reduce the stress that you must be feeling, being unable to intercede on behalf of all those who are on your side but nowhere around.

MAKE MENTAL NOTES

Making mental notes means trying to remember something without writing it down. Now, remembering things requires undivided attention. Thus, if you’re interrupting the other person, how will you focus and be attentive and make good mental notes to combat their opinions? It is very, very important that you let them speak and concentrate with utmost attention before your train of thought takes over as speech.

NO PERSECUTION

Now you may be thinking that you only ever interrupt people but never reprimand them. However, your interrupting them may be alienating them for simply not thinking the way you do. You cannot expect them to have the same ideals as you, and they may be even incorrect in their perception, but there are certain ways to verbally approach them. Intimidating them mid-conversation, trying to jeopardise their social life, tagging them on SNS articles that you know will exacerbate their image, are not okay. Please, refrain from doing all that.

IMAGINE SOMEONE RESPECTFUL IN THEIR PLACE

I know how easy it is to argue with an acquaintance or friend, especially when you ardently believe your opinion is paramount and indisputable. However, would you behave in the same manner if it were someone you revere deeply? No, you would actually give them the airtime to present their opinions. Above all, you would honour yourself by pondering over it. You can easily approach this the same way simply by listening to them, imagining someone you hold in high regards in their stead. If that shuts you up, the other steps will either follow or their necessity will cease to exist.

PUT YOURSELF IN THEIR SHOES

And someone like you in yours. If you were trying to express your opinion on something, trying to get it across, would you appreciate being interrupted? Just imagine not being allowed to speak the same way you don’t let your peers speak just because you find their opinion wrong and obsolete. Imagine being interrupted because someone thinks your opinion is wrong and obsolete. It has to feel bad. Try not to do this to others. If people don’t feel comfortable holding a discussion with you, what’s even the point of trying so hard to learn more about what you believe in?

It is not as easy to let go of inherent traits as we try to make it seem when presenting a listicle to help a reader out. However, nothing is impossible if proper effort is given into it.

 

Aysha’s friendship is worth a cup of tea. Just have a cup of tea and don’t try to tell her it isn’t just that at zaheenaysha@gmail.com

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