I love debate.
I think when you get people to engage in debate you get them to start thinking and you get them to start participating (it’s especially fun when its about things they’d not given much thought to already). Plus, I like to know what people think and get to know them beyond any obvious commonalities we might share.
(Perhaps this is why Facebook and social media in general has never interested me much beyond the marketing implications for each. I’d rather have five very good and reliable friends than 200 acquaintances. This is why I don’t accept just any friend requests on Facebook or connection requests on LinkedIn.)
These days, I think people are more likely to be polite, sit quietly and not participate in any conversations with even a hint of controversy or disagreement than ever before (though it’s possible I think this only because I live in the Pacific Northwest now – where passive aggressive behavior thrives and the locals are way too polite). If I can get people engaged, I will.
As a way to get people engaged, I often like to take a black and white stand or state things in absolutes so that people can’t help but debate or defend. (And I’ve been known to say something ridiculous now and again just to see if I can defend it.)
Some think I’m just trolling and doing it for my own amusement. I can’t deny there’s probably some truth to that.
But mostly I find it a great way to learn about someone and what they really think. I also like to challenge people’s beliefs and ideas because I find it so great when people do it to me (which is no where near often enough).
When your ideas are challenged, you have to defend and explain. That exercise alone leads to one of two things – you either realize the holes in your beliefs and make the appropriate adjustments (which might include changing them entirely) or you are able to reaffirm what it is you believe. Both, in my opinion, are good things.
Ideas are important, and ideas that are thoughtful and vetted are even better.
Besides, what fun is just sitting around and agreeing with each other all the time?