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Arguing With People Online, Keeping Your Cool, & Protecting Your Energy Part 2

Yesterday I shared a video from a recent Facebook Live session where I discussed some of my thoughts about protecting your energy and avoiding unproductive online debates.

After a receiving several questions about my first video, I decided to do a follow-up video where I offer additional insights along with a few tips for establishing healthy boundaries and making sure you get the most out of your arguments.

Below are some notes from the video along with the video itself.

1) Don’t look at any advice in an absolute sense. Every piece of advice can help and it can hurt depending on the context. Before you apply advice, you need to think critically and creatively about how to integrate it into your own unique situation.

2) Arguing is not necessarily bad. If you enjoy debating online and you don’t have any frustrations with this, keep having fun and don’t let me stop you.

3) No matter how much good can come from arguing, it’s still important to have standards and boundaries when you enter a conversation.

4) Use the casino technique to minimize the chances of wasting your time.

5) Use the 24hr technique to avoid reactive responses. When time passes, you’re more likely to offer a sober and clearheaded response. Moreover, you may realize that the issue wasn’t that important to you anyway.

6) “I don’t enjoy this” is a perfectly good reason to stop doing something UNLESS you have a moral obligation to keep doing it. Doing uncomfortable things is a part of life, but don’t force yourself to do things that make you feel terrible just to prove yourself to others.

7) Be open to conversations with strangers and be open to conversing with people who disagree, but pay attention to the empirical data of your personal experience. If you can see that the conversation isn’t productive, acknowledge the evidence and follow the truth where it leads. It doesn’t take 20 comments and 2 days of debate to realize that someone isn’t listening to you.

8) When you can, take the conversation offline or away from social media. If you really care about the ideas, get on the phone or on Skype and have a discussion. Most people will run away when you suggest this because lots of people only want to debate when there’s an audience. Lots of people only want to perform in front of others for the sake of ego-gratification. By making the conversation private and personal, you force people to be real about their true motives and their true feelings.

9) You don’t have an infinite amount of time. Every decision has an opportunity cost. When you find yourself in the middle of an unproductive conversation, remember this. It’s okay to debate, but ask yourself “is arguing on Facebook the best use of my time right now?”

10) There’s no one single absolutely correct “right” way to interact with others online. Sometimes you have to experiment with many different approaches to find what works for you. Just don’t make a God or a Devil out of any one single approach. Human needs are diverse. Human personality-types are diverse. Trust your own judgment. Think for yourself. Take shit from no one.

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