Tag Archives: communication

Arguing – Conservative vs Liberal

I’m speaking in general terms here – VERY general.

Contender

I’ve seen a trend in political discussions on the internet. People from every political corner of the internet like to argue and insult each other.  What I’ve noticed is that conservatives go about it in different ways than liberals.

Conservatives

  • Bad grammar.
  • Abbreviations like “u” for “you” – “ur” for “you are” or “your.”
  • Crass insults, like saying someone deserved to be beaten or die or such.
  • An attitude that conveys “I am holier.”
  • Over reliance on religion
    • Saying “you will burn in hell for {insert your favorite ending here}.”
    • Replying with “Amen” if they agree with the previous denigrator.

Liberals

  • Big words, maybe trying to imply the other person is vacuous.
  • Long sentences, sometimes paragraphs, with complete punctuation.
  • Reliance on logic, sometimes faulty, to make a point.
  • An attitude than conveys “I am more intelligent.”

Reality

In life, always remember that your reality may be different from another person’s reality.  This would go a LONG way in solving problems – vast and small.

What this means, is that two people can share an experience, but come away from it with different feelings, different meaning, different interpretations, and therefore different realities.

It does not mean that one is wrong and one is right.It means that dialogue needs to take place to gain a better understanding of the differences.

Imagine what the world would be like if we were to always keep this in mind. No, it wouldn’t erase problems.  That would be boring.  It would allow us to be empathetic to others and work through problems.

Talking Politics

Here are some basic tips for surviving discussions on sensitive topics, such as politics.

  • Avoid name calling. It just makes you look like a big baby. Ad hominem.
  • Don’t assume you know a person’s views based on a few words you see on your screen.
  • Words on a screen are void of facial expression, tone and body language – so try not to assign emotion to things you read. You’ll probably be wrong or exaggerated in what you assign. I know that I’ve been horribly wrong, reading too much into things.
  • Carefully choose your words when discussing hot topics.
  • Lighten up – damn it.
  • Admit that most people are not stupid just because they don’t share your opinion. Many people hold opinions for valid, well though out reasons.
  • Don’t take differing view points so personal.

You Are The Problem

In general, I don’t like the statement in the subject, “You are the problem!” In particular, I don’t like it when it is used in situations where there is a “perceived” problem, which in many cases turns out to simply be a difference of opinion.

Let’s say that some people have a certain view point and believe that people who don’t agree are causing some type of problem. The people who don’t agree with the first group either do not see a problem, or may even see the first group as the problem (or part of the problem).

Now I’d like to share the scenario that prompted this post. I was browsing through a Facebook meme post regarding rights. It had a quote from Karl Marx, “Remove one freedom per generation and soon you will have no freedom and no one would have noticed.

In the comments, there were a lot of references to libtards, liberal scum, sheep, etc. Insults to the intelligence of a broad range of people. And MANY references to God, prayer, taking back our nation (I keep asking who took it away from us), and fighting for our nation.

Here’s the kicker, one person basically said that non believers are “why we are in trouble.”

I feel pretty powerful now. America is “in trouble” because I don’t believe in God! I wonder what would happen if all of us “nones” suddenly started believing in God. America would be GREAT again?

No, probably not. Here’s what I think would make us a great nation. Forget about the past – look to the future. Do not aim to take away existing rights, even if you disagree with those rights. Seek to maintain rights and only make changes that would keep the public safer. Engage in dialog to understand differing view points. Read a variety of sources on a given topic. Understand that there is a TON of diversity in the world and people have different views on issues – and those different views do NOT make them less intelligent than you.

America’s Problem #3

This is more of a humanity problem, not specific to Americans. We don’t know how to communicate effectively when negative feelings may be involved. It is a very simple concept, but one that is very difficult to learn to the point of it being the natural communication style we revert to when under stress.

Consider these two conversations.

You Statement – Placing Blame

Why do you always poke around when we’re trying to leave so we can be on time?

I Statement – Sharing My Concern

When you take a long time getting ready I feel stressed out that we’re going to be late then I feel grumpy for awhile after that.

The You statement puts the receiver on the defensive because it sends subliminal messages of blame.  The I statement does not blame, but shares how the sender is affected by the situation.

America’s Problem #2

Negativity. Some of us

  • Insult the person who disagrees with us. We can’t accept that people may have well thought out reasons for thinking differently and just learn to accept that fact.
  • Call the person who chooses a different life style weird, lazy, stupid, etc. We don’t like people who are different.
  • Think that the person who doesn’t believe what we believe is just stupid or wrong. We can’t tolerate people’s differences.
  • Treat innocent mistakes in traffic like intentional rudeness. We cannot give the benefit of the doubt.
  • Will be rude to a person we believe is not driving fast enough, by either riding their tail or passing in a rude manner. We believe we own the road and the world revolves around us.
  • Believe that if you look different or talk with a different accent (or worse yet – speak in a different language), you must be stupid, bad, or just need to learn how to be a Murican. We don’t like people who are different. And if they look like they might be Muslim, we don’t like them and we certainly don’t trust them.
  • Let life’s minor irritation get the best of us. We haven’t learned to let go and focus on what is good in our lives.

America’s Problem #1

Widening political divide. Not only do more people strongly identify as conservative or liberal; but they also shun people with opposing views.

It is very difficult to communicate with someone if you are automatically discrediting them based on their political party. Discussion may make people realize they have more common ground than they think.

Dating: I Talk About My Ex

There’s a popular thought in the dating world that we should not talk about our ex and I don’t entirely agree with it. Here’s what we shouldn’t do:

  • Bash our ex.
  • Pine after our ex.
  • Compare our date to our ex.

Here’s what I believe we should do, because it helps us to get to know each other:

  • Instead of bashing our ex, we should discuss what worked and what didn’t work in the relationship. It is difficult to do this without mentioning the former partner.
  • We should accept, especially at my age, that someone may have spent DECADES with their ex.  I’ve known mine for 25 years and was married to him for 21 years.  He’s had a huge impact on my life, both good and bad.  And he is the father of my two wonderful boys.  So his name is going to come up.
  • We should focus on the message our date is trying to convey, not the fact that he or she is talking about their ex.  To me, I’m not talking about my ex when I mention him (at least not most of the time and especially not in the beginning stages of a new relationship).  I’m really talking about my feelings and reactions to events that occurred with him.

I have found a couple of men who understand these concepts and one who didn’t quite get it. He talked about his ex wife, but when I talked about my ex he quickly started accusing me of still being in love with my ex.  Heck, even my massage therapist can tell I’m not in love with my ex (sorry dear ex – if you happen across this).

Walk All Over Me! NOT!!!

I took some time off to think (a.k.a. – wallow in self pity).  Really, I did both. I wallowed for a bit, then I thought, wallowed some more, thought and then experienced some personal growth.

I am the type of person who is giving and willing to go with the flow of people around me.  I’m a follower, not a leader.  There’s not really a problem with these characteristics, unless a person lacks the ability to STOP the behavior when someone is taking advantage.  That was me.  I didn’t know how to prevent someone from taking advantage of me.

In many relationships, a pattern is formed pretty early where one person gets their way the majority of the time.  It’s not that they’re self centered or rude, it is just that their partner never stopped the pattern – for whatever reason.  Their partner never spoke up about their own needs.  As time goes on, the person who rarely gets their way might get frustrated when he/she really has something important that they want to have go their way.

I believe that I’ve made progress over the last week in #1) recognizing a negative pattern I fall into in my relationships and #2) speaking up about my feelings in regards to the situation.  Not just walking away from the problem and hope it gets better magically.

Speaking up about my needs and feelings will help to prevent people walking all over me, even when they don’t specifically intend to do it.  Since I realized my pattern and understood what to do about it, I’ve felt an emotional burden lift.  Then after I spoke to the individual I was having a problem with, I felt even better.  No idea if the problem will go away, but at least I didn’t just ignore it in hopes it would magically go away.

You Always – You Never – You Suck

In my head I am screaming at Neo (click the link to find out who Neo is), “you suck at returning texts.”  But what good would it do to say that to him?

Embed from Getty Images

It would do NO good.  It is an accusation and will put him on the defensive.  Ultimately, it will not convey to him how I feel when he goes silent.  It will not bring understanding or intimacy between us.  It may make him run for the hills.

I do need to talk to him about it though, because it is disconcerting to receive silence.  I know WHY he goes silent and I’m OK with that. I also understand that this issue may go away or be diminished once he gets a medical problem taken care of later this month.  But for now, the silence is killing me. I want to let him know how I feel about it and request that he not go completely silent.

So instead of flinging “you suck at returning texts” at him (which my amygdala wants me to do); I will instead use my pre-frontal cortex to tell him:

  • When I don’t receive a return text until Tuesday morning for the four texts I send on Monday, I feel like there is a lack of interest.
  • I feel like maybe you are playing cat and mouse with me.
  • I feel like I’m being tricked.
  • I feel like I’m failing at a mind game where the winner sends the fewest texts, but just enough to make the other person want to keep texting.
  • I feel like I should just wait until I receive a response from my last text before I send another, but that feels like playing a mind game.  And that is NOT my style.

Neo, instead of going completely silent on me, could you send me a quick text to let me know you are not feeling good and can’t text or talk just now?  I will respect that and not be upset. Getting a brief text or call like that will alleviate my fears and help me to look forward to communicating with you when you ARE feeling better.