There are many contentious topics that can come up for discussion in any group of people these days. There is always the big three conversation no-now of sex, religion and politics, but almost any issue can turn into an ugly confrontation these days. People feel threatened these days — threatened by their own insecurities, conspiracies, the success of others at their expense — and when threatened people lash out. You can be discussing the color of the trash bins one moment and the next have someone virtually at your throat when they disagree with your shade of blue.
Common courtesy, which I describe as not being discourteous unless (and even) if someone is discourteous to you, is a long lost art these days, it seems. In the past, a discussion may have risen to a heated argument, but there would have many steps in between. There would have least been the attempt at civility until someone questioned the marital status of your mother when you were born. Today, though, discussions can go from “Hi” to “I hate you!” almost instantaneously. Some might think that this only occurs online, but I see it happen IRL (In Real Life) all the time. People seem much more inclined to prove their point through shouting and intimidation rather than through reasoned discussion with the support of scientific research.
As someone who is intrinsically disinclined to conflict, these attitudes and methods are very troubling to me. I can become very stressed simply by being near one of these heated discussions, let alone involved in one. When I am forced to take part, I still try to find and offer research and other “proof” that might be useful and informative. Even then, though, shouters will shout in the adult equivalent of putting their fingers in their ears and saying “la la la, I can’t hear you!”
Still, I think common courtesy is an important trait and critical to making the world a better place to live. If we only started out with a little courtesy I think we would all find our days passing a bit more peacefully and pleasantly.This isn’t to say you should let people walk all over you. To the contrary. You should stand up for your beliefs and actions, but try to resist escalating your discussions to the level of a verbal (or physical) fist fight at the outset. You may find you have more in common with people than you might think.
Previously on End of the Day: