One of my favorite podcasts lately is Systematic on the 5by5 network, hosted by Brett Terpstra. In the latest episode, they touch on one of my favorite topics: human interactions. I enjoy it because (though, by the grace of God, I am getting better) I am not that great at it and I am curious how “normal” people interact.
The first thing I have noticed is that not all things are essential. Meaning, not every “wrong” needs to be corrected. As an INTJ, this has been a difficult to realize and bears repeating: not every wrong needs correcting. Not heeding this, I often, end up looking every much the fool as the other person2.
Other times the issue is important enough3 and must be addressed, as with the example in the podcast. How I handle these situations determines whether or not the discussion continues or dies before it gets started. Often times I forget that, just as I have my reasons, others have their own history, life lessons, etc for their beliefs. If I ever intend to be effective in the discussion, I must get to this reason. It could be legitimate. It might not. How do I get that? Ask a question.
An example could be, to piggyback on the one used by Brett and Mike on the show, if someone calls a guy a [jerk] and you disagree, say “why do you feel he is a jerk?”. Simple. However, I often find that people haven’t actually given much thought to their statements or expect me to blindly agree.
In the rare cases where they have thought through their arguments and are willing to discuss I end up having the best conversations and, whether we agree or not, find the best friends.