Keep your friends close…

I have been exploring and really enjoying Social Media for some time now. I have reconnected with old friends and made new ones through the most unlikely of channels (Twitter). And yet as this political season ramps up and the lingo gets hotter I see friends calling friends idiots, scumbags and liars. (Are you really my friend?)

I recently sat through a webinar by Claire Riley of Boulder Community Hospital. It was about communication and specifically it was about conflict resolution. Specifically she spoke about the difference between Acknowledgement and Agreement. There is a difference. And if we can learn to use acknowledgement more often we can remain friends.

I have a very dear relationship that likes to send me inflammatory political commentary. Most often I ignore it. Occasionally I will ask, “Are you seeking a dialog about this or are you just “sharing”. Most often they are just sharing.

But when someone says something that I don’t agree with I have a couple of choices. I can argue back by saying, “You are wrong and here are all the reasons why”. Or, I can reply with, “What I hear you saying is… is that right”? (acknowledge) When I do this they now feel listened to, they feel respected and because I listened to them what Dr. Robert Cialdini calls The Law of Reciprocity kicks in and they are at least a little inclined now to listen to what I say.  We may not change each other’s minds (there is all sorts of cognitive bias going on here) but, we can agree to respectfully disagree. And more importantly perhaps keep our friends.


  1. You are right on with this. It seems that people get so heated up about politics and being right that they focus on trying to prove their point rather than acknowledging another viewpoint and at least listening to what the other person has to say.

    That’s why I always enjoy debating issues with you. While we may not agree, I know that we can at least have an educated discussion about things, and, oftentimes, I come away rethinking my viewpoint. Kudos!

  2. Thanks Tom,

    And might I say right back at you. The web and social media is a great way to learn more and to find new insights. In order to do that we want to be curious.


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