Responding to Tone

I’ve been having a discussion on Facebook about private property and theft, sparked by my dismay at the capturing of the Barefoot Bandit in the Bahamas. Not to get into the details of the argument here (I was defending my romanticization of his story, and asserting that owning a plane or a yacht is barely less selfish than theft) I am struck by how much my behavior toward others is influenced by the way they present themselves. If someone argues with me in a tone that I don’t like, I am very likely to dig into an opposing position, with little regard for what the argument is over. Conversely, if someone states something in a fashion that I deem courteous and responsible, I will treat their position much more respectfully.

Do you do this too? I’m not sure how I feel about it; logically arguments should be taken at face value. I would not be surprised if arguments presented derisively are more often fallacious, but it’s not a necessary connection. I don’t know. What do you think?

One Reply to “Responding to Tone”

  1. I can be quite stubborn and opinionated at times but I also find myself being more so as soon as I feel like the person I’m discussing something with or argueing with seems to be telling me how I should feel about something and I perceive them as not recognizing my opinion as my own and not repecting it as different, maybe, but still perfectly valid. I get immediately more defensive than I would otherwise be. I’ve felt like I may need to work on this responce so I can try not to engage defensively as often (getting emotional just creates a lot of messiness when trying to “discuss” something). Sometimes I realize I may just be acting contrary for the hell of it, but often I think I’m responding to someone elses attitude. So I definately see what you’re saying and can relate to responding differently according to the vibes I’m getting off the person I’m speaking with. It’s hard not to be reactive. That’s what conversation is, contributing and reacting, but being conscientious about how one reacts and why when you notice yourself getting emotional or defensive seems really important. Maybe this isn’t really what you were talking about, Alex.. these are just thoughts I’ve had from my personal experience on the topic of reacting differently in an arguement according to the way the other person puts their opinions forward. Thanks again for the thought-provoking post!

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