Have you ever noticed how some people choose to debate everything whether they have knowledge of the situation or not? It’s as if they want to argue for the sake of argument or are bored and need stimulation. These same individuals are typically the first to talk about doing something, but the last to act, and are oftentimes dissatisfied with the fallback position of "agreeing to disagree." It’s as if, you must submit to their position, or you are wrong, stupid, or a bad person. These same people would be well advised to begin doing more and shelving their incessant debating for the sake of hearing themselves talk.
We see this phenomenon play out on all sorts of social media platforms, including Linked in. It’s as if people think that their opinions, self-promotion, and self-branding are the same thing as doing something tangible. They believe that perpetually debating an issue has real value. Let’s face it, a self-brand is worthless if it doesn’t connect with people in a relevant way. Actual influencers don’t need to bring attention to their brand on twitter or Facebook. Plus, they don’t need the façade of being some sort of influencer in order to succeed. We used to refer to these empty shelled influencers in the high-tech world as “vaporware.” In that, their ideas are nothing more than conceptual, nebulous, or esoteric.
So, when we combine the debaters with vaporous inaction, we have nothing more than an opinionated buffoon. What’s interesting is how dug into their positions these individuals become. It’s like a life-or-death situation where even if you offer up the idea of agreeing to disagree as a truce, they shoot it down as blasphemy. As the third of four sons, I tend to have middle child tendencies to where I naturally strive for the middle ground. My aunt used to call me the “peacemaker” within the family. Therefore, when someone is prone to debating with no intention of resolution, it takes every ounce of my being to try and find middle ground.
So, what do we do when debate and ego are at the center of the conversation? I would say that opening our minds and keeping them open is a good start, and to meet people where they are. All the while remembering that everyone is profoundly different, and that the only thing we can control is ourselves. My advice to listen without judgment. If someone chooses to talk until the paint comes off the wall, all while accomplishing nothing of consequence, then so be it. The last thing you want to do is engage in never ending debates that leave all parties feeling empty.