In the Pacific Northwest and throughout the world, we have many independent thinkers. Different points of view and perspective can be useful. Yet, it can be challenging to be friendly when you disagree. How do we discuss our point of view alongside different views in a friendly way? Here is my Grandmother’s Tip 6 in How to Get Along with People (from an old Ann Lander’s column).
“Tip 6. Preserve an open mind on all debatable questions. Discuss, but don’t argue; it is the mark of superior minds to disagree and yet be friendly. Learn to disagree without being disagreeable.”
When your mind is available to listen you withhold judgment. An open mind holds states of curiosity, compassion and readiness to be present. Listening to a fun story, entertaining speech, or watching a movie is easy. Being debated is not so easy.
When you listen to someone who is speaking in a tone that feels uncomfortable, try this process.
Change your mind environment. Play background brain music (classical, jazz, piano, calm melodies). Imagine birds singing in the background or listen to a memory of ocean waves rolling up on the shore. Breathing in deeply into your belly and then exhaling really slowly helps you to maintain a steady head. With good blood flow and imagination you can create an atmosphere of peaceful, open mind.
Discuss with a Smile and Gentle Words
Smiling makes you feel friendly. And when you begin a conversation about a situation with the suggestion “got a minute to discuss your concern” it feels different than “I want to pin you down to talk about the problem” or “can I pick your brain?” (Ow.) Be kind. Be gentle.
You might want to replace the word “problem” with some of these words: challenge, issue, or opportunity.
Coming from a clean and simple place is friendly. Hyping an issue is not cool. Leaving the drama out will make it easier to have a friendly conversation, too. Think good thoughts.
Remember to be open and hold friendly discussions. Let’s see how much we can learn by listening to each other in a new way. Enjoy your conversations using creativity, friendliness, and hold the mark of a superior mind.
The next time you go to a discussion, bring the friendly fragrance of your two lips.