Serving Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Conn. Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire

Arguing with Artistry

With the heated controversy over the war, health-care reform, casinos in Massachusetts, etc. I decided to resurrect an article I wrote a while ago in relation to a confrontation between and professor and police officer. The article ran in the MetroWest Daily News. Below is an excerpt:

“The guidelines below, stemming from time-honored rules of courtesy, teach us how to show our hand with courtesy:

  1. Listen: do not prepare a response while trying to listen. Giving full attention allows us to offer a thoughtful response
  2. Avoid ‘you-logizin‘: most of us raise our emotional muskets when we hear, ‘you’.So, keep the focus on yourself.
  3. It takes two to tangle: if the other person’s temper rises, your does not have to spiral with it. Take a breath and observe his behavior; don’t become entangled in it. If I am the one spiraling, my spouse is apt to say, ‘Let;s start this conversation over again.’
  4. She’s not me! everyone is a product of her own unique life experience. Expect and respect a different frame of reference.

Our forefathers are still spot on! The Victorian Code of Etiquette decrees that successful conversation requires all parties to

  1. Listen
  2. Know what NOT to say
  3. Speak one’s opinion clearly and concisely