Gemini version of this post
When I’m discussing a controversial topic with my family, I usually have a lot to say, probably more than I should. I start talking and talking, connecting all my views, knowledge and opinions about a wide variety of topics, directly or indirectly related to the topic. I usually go deep down into the rabbit hole, trying to explain the root of the problem, which involves a wide picture that not everyone is used to see. The way I explain things is difficult to understand, for my family and other people I have discussed with: sometimes they don’t seem to listen, other times they won’t accept; but it’s mostly my fault, there’s a fundamental flaw with the way I draw the picture, a flaw I discovered recently—today, in fact—, and that is… the language.
I enjoy discussing topics I consider interesting, or I’m obsessed with at the moment. My conversations start peacefully, then I start going too far, “info dumping” everything I know, my voice gets serious and professional. Until someone finds my ideas crazy or unrelated, and everyone starts getting pissed off because I’m so confident about everything I’m expressing, and contradict a lot of their experience and knowledge. Then I raise the volume and speed of my voice, start getting impatient and mad, interrupt everyone with more info dumps—every time less organized—. What’s the problem with everyone!? I’m the one who reads, I’m the one who knows, you should accept everything I say!
Sometimes I feel arrogant about my own thoughts and knowledge, because I hate when people defend their old, nonsense ideals and stupid myths. I know I shouldn’t, but it’s sometimes difficult not to feel that way! Yet, I can’t prove most of the things I say, because they’re mostly based on intuition, common sense, logic and things I read on the Internet; they’re supposed to be opinions, but I fail to express them as such, and are thereby taken as facts. But still, there are things I say I can prove with data; but others’ experience will always win, and I keep telling them it’s not the whole picture.
What’s that thing in my language that makes my arguments so confusing? Turns out sentences like “I think”, “I believe”, “maybe”, “probably”, “in my opinion” and others, are extremely important when expressing opinion, in order to make it clear it’s opinion. I noticed it’s also important to make use of probabilistic language over deterministic. You don’t want to sound as an arrogant who has the absolute truth… I think. Don’t make your opinion sound like a documentary or an encyclopedia, accept your opinion is nothing more than opinion; until you prove it. Others should accept that as well.
Then, how do I express facts if I want to convince others without pissing them off? Depends on who you’re talking with, I don’t think there’s a universal rule that will always work, but I’m pretty sure there are a lot of ways to achieve a nice conversation that ends up convincing them. There’re very closed minded people, they will refuse to listen, don’t try to convince them if it’s not absolutely necessary. Others are willing to listen, but you still need to be careful. Others will seem to listen, but they’re not really listening; you need to change your language or strategy, but it’s sometimes better to give up.
I learned, after many time, that my family can be opened up indeed, and it’s easier than I thought all along. They need to be presented with facts they can see, from multiple sources they can trust. That means, I should make slideshows with cute charts and pictures every time before explaining something to them, accompanied by links and faces of the important people who studied the topic and came with those numbers and conclusions. Bookmark the articles you read! Highlight the interesting points! Do more research! Have your LibreOffice Impress handy all the time! I think it’s obvious you need to back your arguments with sources, but turns out it’s easy to forget, at least to me.
Experience is important, but it’s not everything: there’re billion people out there, absolutely no one has been through what every single person in the world has been, nor anyone has lived long enough to see and experience everything. Not because your grandparents are old, that means they know everything and you know nothing, remember they lived in an era full of misinformation and controlled media, and in an entirely different context. There’s still a lot of misinformation, but it’s also easier than ever to access the real, scientific data. Don’t trust everything you listen, especially when there are no sources other than the friend of a friend of a friend, who has a friend who works on X place and knows Y thing. Let people know about all this before starting a discussion, in a very assertive and careful way!
A lot of things I’ve said here, have been told to me by my parents, with whom I have discussed a lot without getting anywhere, resulting in fights and conflict. Today, a while ago, I was discussing with my mom and my brother about how the modern culture still sexualizes women, as a result of thousands of years under the control of the powerful beauty industry, along with models, influencers and entertainment. We ended up fighting, and then she pointed out to me many of the things I wrote in this post, including how the language I use makes me sound. I really thank her for pointing out all this to me, it’s something I really need to work on, it’s a skill that will be very important for my future.
It’s important to remark that absolutely all of the views I expressed in this post, are opinions based on my experience, things I’ve been told, things I’ve read, some common sense and intuition. Don’t take any of this very seriously! I’m arrogant at times, but I don’t think it’s a core aspect of my personality and I don’t show it very often, it’s just that I want attention sometimes, just like everyone else (I think). I want to feel special sometimes, it’s part of the human nature (I think), to avoid falling into nihilism and depression. I would be very glad to hear your thoughts, and any tips you have. Thanks for reading this post! :3