Ever notice how contentious political discussions online probably wouldn’t be that way if the participants were discussing things in person? Heck, they might even like each other. Being online magnifies differences. Miller’s Law seems a good way to go. Assume that viewpoints contrary to yours make sense to that person. You don’t have to agree with them. However, to understand them you need to realize the viewpoints make sense to them and may be well-thought-out. Believing small government is better doesn’t make you a wingnut. Hoping for affordable healthcare for all does not make you a closet commie.
My 8th grade history teacher said something I never forgot. “When compromise breaks down, war breaks out.” Compromise starts with discussion. Right now, this country is so polarized that discussion is mostly impossible. And forget about compromise. This is not healthy.
“To understand what another person is saying, you must assume that it is true and try to imagine what it could be true of.”
The point is not to blindly accept what people say, but to do a better job of listening for understanding. “Imagining what it could be true of” is another way of saying to consider the consequences of the truth, but to also think about what must be true for the speaker’s “truth” to make sense.