The principles in this article on building bridges with those of differing viewpoints are applicable to multiple situations and people. From making new friends to politics, these principles apply. So here’s the basic breakdown:
- Question your assumptions about other people or person’s intent and agenda. From assuming evil intent to thinking they have a hidden agenda that they don’t, jumping to conclusions and/or stereotyping builds walls instead of bridges.
- Ask questions and listen. In order to build a bridge to another person, you must know where they stand first. The best way to understand them is to ask questions and listen to the answers. Today listening is an art and it means not interrupting every couple seconds to interject your opinion.
- Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. This requires us to think beyond our viewpoint and situation and see this subject through the other person’s eyes.
- Take some time to explain your point of view and why you think the way you do. It’s also important to help the other person or people to understand your point of view without sounding self-righteous or dogmatic. Using statements at times with, “in my opinion” helps what you say not come across as “you’re in the right and they are wrong.”
5. Even if you still disagree, try to find some common ground based on good moral principles. Sometimes “backing up” and seeing where we do agree can be much more enjoyable and productive than arguing something that we will never agree on.
6. Realize and accept that some people will filter everything through black and white. These kinds of people are usually not the best with people in general and can have a “my way or the highway” mentality. The only way to help them open their mind is to help them see that they are “overusing their black and white filter.”
7. Pick your battles, be patient, and, if necessary, “let people be.” Someone who sees every single thing in black and white terms often has a difficult time changing and growing in some areas of their life. For someone to see another point of view, it may take time and patience on the part of the one who is doing the explaining.
Some people though have deep-seated fears and paranoia or have ingrained patterns of self-centeredness. These people simply are unable to change in some areas until they deal with their deeper issues.
Bringing It Together
Building bridges with people of different opinions involves the basic steps of questioning your assumptions, asking questions and listening, putting yourself in the other person’s shoes, explaining your point of view diplomatically, searching for common ground, realizing some people have black and white filters, and being patient and “letting people be” if necessary.
Which of the 7 steps of building bridges with those of differing viewpoints do you do well and which of the 7 steps do you need to improve upon and what is your plan to improve?
This article was written by an SFM affiliate. For more information on how you can build an online business that can serve as a bridge between the life you are living now to the life you want to live, check out this link: