How do we know if someone is trying to convince us of their point of view instead of listening to us, and having a conversation?
When a person says, “Ok fine, have it it your way, I give up.” or “This conversation is done.”
A conversation is only “done” if we have the goal to come to an agreement. And in order to come to an agreement, one of us has to convince the other is right (or make compromises). That’s fine for negotiations and resolving legal battles. But when we are talking to people about.. well.. stuff, it closes the door of communication.
A true conversation is where it’s OK if two people are not in agreement, there’s no intention of changing each other’s minds, and is simply an exchange of ideas. A true conversation is where people are listening to each other.
And when we are listening to each other, we don’t get mad if they don’t like what we say. We don’t even care if they hate what we have to say. Because if we are truly listening, instead of trying to convince the other, it doesn’t matter one bit whether we agree with what the other is saying. Listening doesn’t involve judgement or qualifier. Listening only requires that we understand and give the other person a chance to share.
It makes me sad when someone stops a conversation merely because an agreement is impossible. That tells me that the other person never had the intention of a conversation or of listening, but instead, only dove into the conversation as a means to push his own opinion.
I like conversations where I don’t agree with someone, because in that disagreement, things that I would have never considered come out. Even if during the conversation I hold an adamant point of view, the information we are sharing is valid, interesting and worth stating. But when I’m trying to have a conversation and, instead, am left with the feeling like I have to agree with the other, or convince them of my being right, I rarely leave feeling as if I learned something new. Instead, I feel even more secure in my own position.
If we truly want to convince people of our point of view, we have to be willing to accept the possibility that the other person might just be right. Conversations where we like our opinions (that’s why we have them, right?), but where we are in it to exchange point of views, are much more likely to have an impact on all parties involved. If we go into a conversation expecting that the other person can’t retort, or if they retort, there is no point in having a conversation, then we’ve already lost that listener.
We’ll never agree. That’s what makes conversations so interesting! Conversations where we everyone nods and agrees with each other are good for the ego, but bad for the intellect.