Dialogue or debate?Jun 01, 2023
I hear people using the terms dialogue and debate interchangeably.
They’re not the same.
In a dialogue, you:
- Work collaboratively toward a common understanding of the issue, even if you don’t reach an agreement
- Identify areas of common ground
- Listen carefully to understand one another
- Enlarge your understanding
- Unpack assumptions so you can check incorrect understandings of one another
- Potentially change your mind about something
- Begin from a place of mutual respect and concern
In a debate, you:
- Engage in a competition to prove the accuracy and superiority of your position
- Want to “win” the debate, such as with an acknowledgment or conclusion that your position is better
- Listen carefully to find flaws in the other’s argument and give counterarguments
- Affirm your own pre-existing understanding or position
- Focus on undermining the opposing idea rather than the relationship with that person
Having a dialog can preserve relationships and problem-solve, whereas debate can create resentment and more conflict.
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