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How do you engage in serious discussions?

Hello people, I really need to discuss this with someone. I’m 28 and I find it still very difficult to engage in political/social discussion with my peers, or on social media. My main issue is that I’m afraid to face criticism, and I feel insecure when trying to state my options on things, even on subjects on which I’m supposed to be knowledgeable (I’m doing a PhD in STEM area). Do you have similar experiences? How do you got through?

EDIT: thanks for all the replies!

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11 Comments

  1. It’s just really great to stay updated on current affairs of your country and some big ones in the world. Nowadays, I even keep an eye on meme templates which leads to many interesting news.

    Besides the problem with facing criticism, only thing you can work on are facts. Don’t believe anyone in socio-political topics. Do your own research which will give you confidence and try to keep it handy to throw in between the discussions, if needed.

  2. What sort of criticism are you afraid of? If you’re confident that what you’re saying is accurate there’s no reason to be insecure. At the same time be open to other points of view and new information. Look at the discussion as a learning opportunity or a chance to gather and present your thoughts.

  3. In my experience, most people actually like to have serious discussions, but have a similar fear as you; they don’t want to be criticised or say something stupid for which others will think negatively of them. It’s much easier to do with people you know well, when there’s a basis of trust already, but with new people, show that you are willing to listen to them and not judge them immediately based on what they say. They’ll be much more likely to speak freely when it comes to more serious subjects.

    Most important: don’t be the type of guy that forces his opinion on others, even if you may be right. It’s useless to have a discussion with someone that has already made up his mind

  4. Best thing you can do in any discussion, particularly a sensitive one, is to listen to their arguments and do your best to understand it. If you can do that you will be able to hold a civil conversation with just about anyone.

  5. When debating someone there are some rules to make it enjoyable and enlightening.
    Don’t talk down to others. You want them to understand you and if you talk over there personal education, you will lose them.
    Don’t demand that you are correct. You may over look something and be completely wrong.
    Listen to what they say and don’t insult them. If you think they don’t understand what they are talking about, asked them to simplify their statement for you. Try to get them to break their statement down the the basic form.

    If at anytime they become insulting to you, end the debate. Thank them for their time and move on.

  6. Well you really shouldnt be afraid of criticism, that’s what happens in these conversations. And people are probably wary because it’s pretty easy to lose a job over having the wrong thoughts.

    I’ll say this. If someone doesnt want to talk about a thing then dont push it. Just keep trying with different people until you find a few that like to have thoughtful discussions.

  7. Dont do serious discussions on social media. And you dont have to engage in every discussion. We tend to have some passionate areas of interest. You will only get interesting if your social circle is interested in it. If they are not, you have to bottle up and talk about the menance of dog poop or become a recluse.

  8. You absolutely will face criticism if you post political views, so be prepared to defend your positions. Make no claims that you cannot comfortably defend. This means if you’re a deplorable it’s best to stfu.

  9. 99% of discussions on social media can’t be serious. You end up debating with people whose logic depends on emotion rather than facts. Forget if they believe in an insane conspiracy theory. They’ll believe the “research” they did where they watch a YouTube video of some guy who couldn’t even pass middle school science who completely makes up his own science explanations to justify the conspiracy. No amount of actual facts will change their mind.

  10. First of all, fuck social networks, they are not suitable for such discussions.

    Second, don’t be afraid that your opinion will be criticized. It’s normal that not everyone will agree with you. And eventually, the opinion may change.

    If you are sure of something, then stand on your own, and you will have time to admit your mistake.

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