To have respectful conversations, think about what you want to achieve (e.g., sharing opinions) and what you want to avoid (e.g., insulting someone else).
If we genuinely want to engage with someone who has different opinions, we should communicate with respect and acceptance. As you communicate with others, (whether in person, by text, email, etc) keep in mind:
It is easy to focus on what we want to achieve in a conversation. For example, “I want to convince this person that I am right” or “I want to make this person realize that they are not considering all of the facts.”
But, we should also be putting effort into what we want to avoid during the conversation. We want to avoid insulting the other person, or even worse, ruining a relationship from a conversation gone wrong.
If we think about what we want to achieve, we could want to:
We want to avoid:
Of course, we don’t always prepare conversations and think through what we want to achieve and what we want to avoid. But, if we practice being aware of what we want to achieve and avoid, we’ll get better at having respectful conversations that both people feel good about.