I’m very much okay with disagreement, discussion, debate, questions, challenges, and stretching each other towards new ideas. I’m okay with wrestling out our misunderstandings and faulty point of views. I’m open to you teaching me something I never thought of, or to help me think in a new direction, or to correct an obvious error. This means you want dialogue. And really, passion and conviction are okay too. I will have a conversation with you when you see the person, not just a problem. Then you’re respecting my willingness to learn. You’re building a bridge towards mine, and even if we disagree in the end, we valued each other’s dignity.
I’m not at all okay with obnoxious arrogance, smarmy diatribes, condescending, one-sided soapboxing, black-and-white pigeonholing, hyper-sensitivity, a persecution complex, yelling “fallacy” or “heresy” or “blasphemy,” didactic lecturing, automatic defenses, blanket statements, unequivocal language like “always” and “never,” putting words in my mouth, or assuming I stand for the opposite of some angle I didn’t cover. This is not passion, but insecurity. It’s not conviction, but condemnation. Your goal isn’t a conversation, but winning a conversion. It means you love the sound of your own voice, and there’s only room for one person on that platform. Yet you wouldn’t even listen to someone who talked the same way you talk. I will hear you, I will even read your picket sign and your angry blog post, but don’t expect much else.