The current political climate makes conversations about issues like gun control more intense and heated than ever. Navigating such a sensitive topic can be done in a way that is productive if approached carefully. Both sides can learn from opposing views while remaining respectful of feelings and personal beliefs.
Find Common Ground First
Shared interests create a bond and level of respect that are more important than topics of disagreement. Finding common ground before approaching sensitive issues will make it easier to keep things light and productive when they come up.
Start An In-Depth Dialogue
The upbringing and background of a person provide considerable insight into how they feel about important issues like gun control. A homeowner with a military background may feel more comfortable defending his home and family with a firearm. On the other hand, a long-time office worker in a gated community might not think that a gun has any place in his life. Neither man is wrong for how they feel about gun ownership, and each could learn from the other person’s perspective.
Speak In Person Rather Than Engage Online
Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter create a space where opinions and emotions are under a microscope. A simple conversation can become quickly heated when people are not meeting face to face for a discussion. Speaking in-person provides an opportunity to read social cues and emotions, and the conversation will flow with more of an understanding tone. It also lifts the curtain of anonymity and holds people accountable for their words.
Polarizing topics are known to start heated arguments because people try to prove their point. A neutral person takes the stance of asking questions instead of sharing their thoughts and experiences on gun control. It’s rare to change someone’s mind about gun regulations and ownership, but any peaceful dialogue can be a learning tool.
Know When To Walk Away
No matter which side a person is on regarding gun control, there is a certain level of emotion involved in taking a stance. Gun owners and advocates may become defensive when faced with the possibility of having their sense of safety taken away. A person who favors gun control may feel strongly after having lost a relative to violence. It’s important to know when a conversation needs to stop when it is no longer headed in a positive direction.