Don't participate in a disagreement over an issue about which you are emotionally involved and feel that you are right and that anyone who disagrees with you is wrong.
A disagreement based on, "I'm going to win this one," will make enemies or create hard feelings and lost friendships.
Remember that knowledge has evolved from the resolution of disagreements among intelligent and rational minds, as well as among well-meaning average minds, in the history of man.
Stay on the subject; avoid irrelevant statements.
Keep your voice unemotional and unintimidating.
Don't resort to negative emotions: rancor, innuendoes, acid comments, accusations, meanness, and personal attacks.
Think of your "opponent" as a person who could become a friend with whom you might have many enjoyable discussions of interesting and controversial subjects for the rest of your life.
Think of your disagreement as a mathematical problem to be resolved objectively.
Listen attentively and try to understand an opposing opinion.
Exude the attitude that your mind is open to evidence.
Readily accept points of argument with which you agree.
Don't resist saying, "You're right," when you think so.
Allude to objective sources of information, i.e., experts, encyclopedias, etc.
If you think, even erroneously, that someone is insincere, refusing to reason objectively, or is founding beliefs and claims on deeply ingrained, unverifiable convictions that will never be relinquished regardless of evidence, politely make a credible excuse for having to leave and walk away.


© 1997 by Pasqual S. Schievella