Agree on the General Principle, Stop Focusing on the Details

Connect on Principle Ignore the Details

It’s easy to get picky with the details.

The details are important, I get it. Details are important in politics.

But unless you’re voting on a senate bill or the next president, it can get in the way of outreach.

Think of all the conversations and debates you have had in the past year.

I bet most of those are because you took issue with one little detail. Someone said something, it was pretty benign, but that one minute detail dragged the whole conversation down.

It turned on the warning signals in your head. It made the whole conversation an armed conflict.

But why did you take issue with it? You agreed on everything else.

See, it seems like a lot of us political types suffer from what could be called a “hyper attention abundance disorder” (or HAAD for short).

And it’s messing with your ability to evangelize.

How Does HAAD Affect You?

The main effect of HAAD is an inability to recognize “good motives.”

Despite what you may think, many democrats have good reasons for the policies they push for. They want to help the poor. They want to grow the economy.

What separates you from them is how you act on your good intentions.

They have a different outlook on how things work. They have a different view of the world.

Is their outlook wrong? Possibly. Does their outlook work? I’m inclined to say no.

But their actions aren’t important. The actions of politicians are important. The average left leaning American, not so much.

What’s important is that you both agree that the poor should be helped.

That’s how you connect with them, and break through their own stereotyped assumptions of you.

HAAD keeps you from realizing that. It holds you back from saying, “Hey, I don’t agree with your policies, but I do agree that the poor need to be helped.” Instead, you end up saying, “You obviously don’t care about the poor, because if you did, you wouldn’t support that bill.”

Other effects of HAAD on your life:

  • Rigidness
  • Arrogance
  • Snobbery

Some Real Life Examples of HAAD in Your Life

“If you love America you wouldn’t support the Patriot Act.”

“You’re retarded for thinking the welfare system will help America’s poor.”

“You don’t care about the middle class, you just want the government to have more control.”

“Liberals just want to control our lives and take away our freedom.”

How Do You Beat it?

The main way to beat HAAD is to view things from a broader picture.

If someone tweets a rather controversial statement, go beyond the superficial details to the heart of the matter.

What’s the main principle they’re getting at?

Is the principle controversial, or are the details controversial?

Do you agree with their main point?

If you do agree, push the details aside, and discuss the main principle.

It’s the details that holds you back from connecting with people.

And you need to connect before you can safely critique them.

Here’s some pointers on avoiding HAAD…

  • Don’t be aggressive.
  • Before responding to what someone has said, take a moment and analyze what they said.
  • Recognize that you already disagree with this person. You don’t need to exasperate the fact.
  • Remember that you’re trying to connect with them, not show them the folly of their ways (that’s for later)
  • Keep an open mind
  • Keep the conversation civil
  • Move past entrenched party and ideological divides

Now, get out there and looks past the details to fully understand where someone is coming from.

Did you like this article? If so please take a moment to support future work of mine on Patreon!
About John-Pierre Maeli

Keeping it simple and crystal clear, because anything else is useless. I'm here to not only inform you, but to also connect with you. That's what The Political Informer is all about. Feel free to follow me on either Twitter or Google+ Let's talk!

Learn How to...

Just enter your email to get started (plus free goodies afterward)