How to Debate Someone Properly

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President Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter Meet at the Walnut Street Theater in Philadelphia to Debate Domestic Policy during the First of the Three Ford-Carter Debates.

Aiden McAffie, Writer

With lots of controversial topics floating around the media comes a lot of debate on those said topics. It is perfectly ok to have a civil debate/discussion about topics that you are passionate about in hopes of making your voice heard and point clear. What is not ok is acting in an uncivilized manner if someone says something that you do not agree with. This would include not letting someone finish what they want to say, yelling, attacking the person personally, and going as far as assaulting someone. One would think this is just common sense when it comes to debating someone, but as people we make mistakes and it is our responsibility to learn from those mistakes and better ourselves.

Now we know what is not a good debate, so it is time to talk about what a good civil debate would look like.

A good debate starts with the people partaking in the debate realizing that they shouldn’t try to change someone’s mind. In a good debate the participants are calm, respectful and give each other time to express their side. The point of the debate is to express your opinion and also see another side of something. As people we should not attack someone for their beliefs, but instead we should work to find out why they hold their beliefs and seek to understand them. 

When leaving a debate, one should feel like their voice was heard and they got enough time to express their beliefs. If you leave a debate feeling like you got ridiculed for your beliefs the whole time then the debate was not productive. 

Many of us make mistakes when we debate people and we often don’t ever notice until we reflect on the conversation at a later time. Some of the most common debate mistakes would be interrupting too often, getting angry, and not actually listening to the other person speak.

Before having a debate with someone you need to think of why you are wanting to do so. What will the debate accomplish? Will you learn from it? You shouldn’t debate someone just because they disagree with you. It is also important to remember that not everyone and everything is worth debating.

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