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Facebook has been an interesting place lately.  The easiest way to put it is that everyone seems to have an opinion about something.  And everybody wants to hear it.  But I've noticed something lately.  For me, it's not just your opinion that makes what you say interesting, it's how you present it.

Nearly Everything Is Polarizing, It Seems

I'm not going to get into my thoughts on the various things that are polarizing the nation. We have racial issues, a President, and so much more that has people fired up.  In many ways, that can be a good thing.  But, I've seen a lot of viciousness, so often it's a sad thing.

With everything so polarizing these days, it's hard to stay out of the crossfire.

When Everyone Has An Opinion, Who Can You Listen To?

One thing about what I've seen lately is that just about everybody thinks that they're right.  And that the opposite opinion is wrong.  They're all willing to lay it out reason by reason.  One thing for sure is that even when one side lays out their reason, they're not going to get their opinion changed even if they let the other side lay out their reasons.  Which, let's face it, many conversations these days don't get that far.

But it raises an interesting question, when you have SO MANY people talking all over the place, who can you listen to?  Let's face it, the amount of people that you have exposure to about various issues is tremendous nowadays.  Think about it.  Facebook is great for catching up with people you otherwise would have lost touch with, right? But, knowing how your old high school locker buddy is doing also means that you now get their opinion on, well, everything.

So, who do you listen to?

For Me, It's About Respect

I try to limit everything that I read about polarizing issues.  These things are important, but I can only read so much.  Even if I read everything, how much new information are you getting after a certain point?  Probably not much.

Sometimes the discussions make me think.  What I've noticed personally is that the people who rant and rave get through to me less than those who may have the exact same opinion, but who lay it out calmly.  There's one woman in my Facebook feed who is SO fired up about some stuff going on that she posts strongly worded opinion posts at least every hour.  I'm not kidding.  And they're not for the faint of heart.

They really don't get through.  And it's not because I am agreeing or disagreeing, it's just that because she treats every single thing she says as THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU'LL READ, it works out that none of it comes across as important.  It's probably not her intent, but think about it.

When Expressing Your Opinion, Leave Some Room

Personally, on some of the stuff that gets through, it comes through on some of the most subtle and lightly worded posts out there.  Why?  Because when someone writes something that gets the point across without being forceful, guess what happens?  It leaves some room.  It leaves empty space for anyone reading to fill it in with their own thoughts and opinions.  That's your opportunity to persuade people.

That always worked for me when it came to learning.  Looking back at teachers and professors that I liked, they didn't try to force feed me thoughts and ideas.  The ones I despised were those that were so forceful with what they were trying to teach that it didn't leave me room to form my own thoughts.

So, whatever your opinion on the matter of the day, remember your opinion may be less important than how you present it.

I Need To Practice What I Preach

These past months have been eye opening.  It's interesting because I've written this entire piece saying how getting loud is not the key to being heard.  I need to practice that better in other areas.  One of my biggest things I would change about myself is that I know I raise my voice to get through to my kids.  Obviously, if being ‘YELLED AT' in some way doesn't get through to me, I shouldn't expect it to work in reverse.  That's becoming a personal challenge I'm putting in place.

Readers, what persuades you?  What immediately gets you to stop listening?  How do you try to get through to others?  Please share your thoughts in the comments below.  Thanks for reading.