It takes two at minimum to dialogue, but what if only one is open to experiencing it? When it comes to dialogue, the parties involved in that moment of conversation must be in a place that includes each of the fundamental rules which makes dialogue possible. Parties are present, receptive, and respectful, listening, working to understand what is being said, and questioning if they do not.
Confirmation of what the speaker has said is essential. It may sound like “so what you are saying is———,“ but in any event, the response should be to the speaker’s satisfaction. In answer, the listener is now candid in response and is so as authentically as possible. Relative to these few hard and fast rules is that agreeing to agree is not a condition that exists in the dialogue from either of them. While it sounds simple, it is a rare occurrence.
What makes this so rare is the unwillingness for some people to concede that the beliefs they share are open to challenge or disagreement. Simply put, they do not see their thoughts and words as beliefs but as facts. And because of this, they build an almost impregnable wall that allows for no attack against what they know as only “facts.” In other words, “it’s the gospel.” Any attempt to argue against a position that claims such truth is futile. If maintaining a relationship instead of breaking one apart is a possibility, I suggest the choice one makes needs to be based on the “historic” relationships between people. This is a deeply personal issue. And examples abound. Family and the “kitchen table” come immediately to mind.
So easy to picture the young family in discussion or lecture taking place around the table or in the living room. Before the advent of technology, it was our primary way of being with each other, and in many homes, conversation was the standard way of communicating. Also, in many cases, power ruled the discussion, and the father or mother’s words were heard and not others. The lucky of us were invited to participate, and our opinions were heard and even valued. Early on, some of us learned the art of dialogue, and although all of us have beliefs—we do not have all the hard facts. We need to be able to know the difference between what we believe to be true and what we know as “facts.”
Why do we argue? ———–We may disagree, why not? ———–At least we listen.