As I sit in a bar in Los Angeles right now, listening to some douchebag in a poorly cut, but very expensive suit trash-talk the Seahawks and their fans (myself included), I reflect on what I have set for myself as policy when I deeply disagree with someone.
It’s a work in progress, as I generally have a lack of temper and self-control, but I really don’t have another choice. I get set off easily, and I have a tendency to go off with all guns blazing when someone diametrically disagrees with me. But I’ve gotten better with this for the most part. Minor disagreements are pretty easy to discuss and eventually find common ground on. I can reach out. I can make the conversation not personal.
But I’m at a point where I’m not interested in dealing with racist or other bullshit like an adult. Those are easy calls, but more than that, I have to step out of certain arguments once I have determined one gap: a common language.
I found this with deep political differences. If I’m arguing with a Hard-core, Tea Party conservative, who thinks that any and every action by the government is inherently evil, we can’t have a policy discussion. There is no middle ground. If I’m discussing diet with a Vegetarian or Vegan, you can’t get into the benefits of meat quality. The concept isn’t in the conversation.
We simply don’t have a common language to speak.
So now, my personal policy is to try to disengage. If I think that there is no way to communicate, then I shouldn’t try. Alternately, if something is setting my blood boiling, I try to take that as a clue and back out.
I’ve gone to unfollowing people on social Media, or in the worst case, blocking them entirely. I don’t need to explain this to them for the same reason that I can’t have the conversation in the first place. It won’t be understood. I’ve also done this to myself when someone keeps setting me off. I’d rather cut one line of communication than permanently destroy all.
It sucks, but we live in a time where everyone has a megaphone, and being loud is more important than being right. I’d just rather be sane than right in some of these situations. I don’t always succeed, but I’m getting better.
But two more beers and I’m going over to piss down this guy’s neck…