5. Reiterate the Other Person’s Argument
As an online journalist, I often get yelled at for something I’ve written. These attacks usually appear on other people’s blogs, and (as long as they’re rational) I try to repost them on my own. Doing this helps prevent “flame wars” (an escalating exchange of nasty cyberdialogue), because I am listening to and stating their opinions, after all. Outside of the Internet, the same rules apply. If you’re trying to explain to your kid that he can’t stay up late, begin by stating his opinion—“Look, I know that you want to read the last 492 pages of Harry Potter”—before adding your two cents. Even if he’s reluctant to concede the point, he’ll appreciate the fact that you listened to him in the first place.
Ben Smith is a political blogger on Politico.com.