Posted in Writing Prompts

Fandango’s Provocative Question #37 (revisited)

Here’s today’s question:

Is it possible anymore to disagree without being disagreeable?

This has become a course of recent study for me. I’ve been trying to figure out what I can do to have longer, more productive, conversations with people who have ‘strong’ opinions.

By strong opinions I mean they either present their argument with an unflappable conclusion or seem to attach their whole identity and virtue to their opinion. Both are dangerous to react to and are better avoided.
The former precludes there will be little ‘wiggle room’ in the area of open-mindedness.
The latter insures that, at some point, the person will perceive any questions or disagreement as a personal ‘assault’. (The topic won’t matter anymore, it’s your ‘tone’ that will become the issue… and so on.)
There’s one more area where people have lost the art of civil discussion. There’s oft a rarity of a sense of humor-particularly the ability to poke fun at oneself or a tongue in cheek use of sarcasm.
Deadly serious discussions are doomed, IMHO, because humility isn’t welcome there. Without humility, each person appears belligerent to the other.
We held debates when I was in middle school. That exercise would be exceptionally valuable today.

My direct answer to the question is: If you can find a genuine, well-informed, person with an ounce of humility, to talk with… yes. They’re just harder to find these days.


I love a well told story. If it makes me laugh, all the better.

8 thoughts on “Fandango’s Provocative Question #37 (revisited)

  1. Most schools, these days, that have debate do it differently than what I think you and I experienced (mainly freshman year for me); now it’s high-stress belligerence for literal points on teams (involving white kids on drugs), arguing whatever position one has been assigned for the exercise. I agree it would be good the emphasize the old way.

  2. I completely agree with you. And I’d say that both you and I are guilty, at least in the discussions we’ve had, of impeding the civil discourse with one another.

    1. Written discussion is a difficult medium. Especially if you’ve never met the person. I think we’ve talked past each other but I’ve never felt insulted. Hope you feel the same. ❤

  3. I try to be openminded, but I have very strong opinions about certain topics. If I encounter someone online with a contrary opinion to my “hot button” issues, I generally do not engage. It isn’t productive and only leads to nastiness (unfortunately). In “real life,” it’s easier to discuss opposing points of view because generally friends and family try not to be jerks…

    1. Real life is best. I agree.
      I try to stay away from discussion with people who have “hot button” issues but I’m not always successful. Trying to convince people isn’t my concern. I’m just testing and reevaluating my own positions.

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