25 July 2014

"How to Share Difficult Information with Friends Without Losing Friendships" - a Foster and Kimberly Gamble video

In challenging times, especially challenging political "times that try men's souls" (yes, of course, women's too), it becomes important to be able to share and expand our views in objective ways.  But when we have information of vital importance to share, which can contribute to solving problems, it is not easy to remain dispassionate and refrain from conveying urgency about what is of concern. 

Let me just mention, here, that letting off steam with folks who are on the same sheet of music is something entirely different.  This video is about the challenge of presenting new demonstrable facts, credibly, which might be difficult for some to accept i.e. controversial issues.  Controversy because of differing points of view is not as bad as it often feels, because it is an indicator that people are talking about the issues - that needed public debate is occurring.  And that is good.  Being able to exchange points of view, kindly and clearly, is even better.

Overwhelming people with strong emotions can be counterproductive because people are likely to have their own opinions about which they too are passionate.  And presenting too much new information all at one time, while expecting or worse pressuring for immediate understanding and acceptance, is also counterproductive.  People need time to process new information, time to explore how it fits into what they know, and time to be in denial, also, when new information conflicts with what they know.  I need to remind myself of this, frequently, so it was welcome to be reminded so kindly.  I thought it to be worth sharing.

If we keep a discussion conversational, then facts which do not fit in might inspire someone's efforts, and/or our own, to try to learn why there is a contradiction.  And, we need to keep in mind that no matter how much we think we know, there is always something to be learned by engaging in respectful and respectable conversation with others.  When the subject is something about which one person is more knowledgeable, and well versed at addressing, the ways in which the other person responds can provide good information, for both, about more effective ways to communicate. When strong emotions are part of the conversation, important details are not conveyed well in the chaos created.  But details really matter.

These folks provide good suggestions for keeping exchanges conversational.  More precisely, as their video is entitled, they advise "how to share difficult information with friends without losing friendships".  It is an important set of skills to be learned or reminded of, emphasizing the good manners of thoughtful conversation and more. Their advice is useful when conversing with anyone, at any time, about anything - and vital when it is a controversial issue! 

THRIVE Filmmakers Foster and Kimberly Gamble share some helpful tips for effectively discussing challenging and controversial information with family and friends. 
(I have no opinion about the film mentioned because I have not yet watched it.  Nor do I know about the movement with which it is apparently associated.  But I do highly recommend the video about how to effectively discuss controversial issues.)