How to live healthily in a diverse environment? How to deal with many backgrounds, lifestyles, and opinions? Cheesecake Labs is a company that fosters diversity and works to create a comfortable and respectful atmosphere. However, sometimes it is not that easy to keep it harmonious.
Since we are living a social-political-environmental (and a few others) contexts that create discussions on these spheres, it was about time to figure out how to keep it constructive and harmless. Here I will talk about why not to stop these discussions and how should we do it without turning it into an awkward and/or offensive conversation.
Why are we fostering discussions?
Social relations are the richest tool for human development. The more we coexist, the more we should know how to do it with dexterity. When we learn how to interact properly, we are able to discuss and even disagree without hurting ourselves and others. Through this kind of interaction, we might find ourselves more open to learning with people with different principles and ideologies.
Margaret Heffernan, a former CEO of five businesses, tells in her TED Talks why disagreeing makes us better humans. She exemplifies with a real fact where the author of a complex research has her theory questioned and put herself back to work. At the same time, people who disagreed with her are also working to find better ways to solve the problem at hand.
So, yes, we should foster healthy disagreements. It allows us to express ourselves, to improve anything and to make the world a better place.
I know, it is not that simple. However, there are a few basic tips to get started. While doing it, never stop trying to get better at it. Eventually you will find yourself mastering and teaching better ways to live healthily in a diverse society.
Know your boundaries
Get to know others reality and don’t mess with it. Being empathetic is to respect others context – it doesn’t matter which one we are talking about. If you feel that the other part is getting mad, sad or uncomfortable, just stop. Maybe you are not managing to get closer to this person’s reality.
On the other hand, learn how to listen. Never underestimate it. When you stop to listen to someone, this person might feel responsible for convincing you or proving a point in a not very friendly way. Do not assume that everyone knows how and wants to have a healthy discussion.
Defend your point
Stand for your principles and know how to prove your point of view. Facts and logic thoughts are essential to make your ideas clear and consistent. Presenting a possible and tangible scenario makes your point easier to understand and respect.
However, don’t be afraid of agreeing with the other part. Having good and well-found arguments makes you sure of what can improve it or even change it. Don’t forget: being a better person is the focus here.
Think if it is worthwhile
Good and healthy discussions must make the parts feel empowered and respected. For that to happen, both should be prepared and aware of, at least, what is written above. If you see that the other person is resistant, disrespectful and nothing good will come out of there, think twice.
Sometimes it just isn’t worth your time and energy.
One of the points of discussing such controversial issues is to reinforce our freedom of expression. In the second we lose sight of it, it doesn’t make sense anymore.
In a good discussion we are able to show our point of view and ideas and to be heard respectfully. As well as to do the same with the person on the other side.
Also, we don’t have to agree with everything we hear. Having a diverse society is what keeps us evolving and it is perfectly ok to think different.
In one phrase, just remember to be respectful and you should be fine. After all, people will be people. 🙂
- How to Politely Disagree, According to Science
- 6 Smart Ways to Disagree With Someone Respectfully
- Dare to Disagree