Thorny Conversations

Stepping into a thorny conversation can be an act of faith, foolishness or naivete.

When was the last time you found the patience or the humility to truly listen to someone who does not share your views? Since the beginning of the practice of rhetoric, it has been a useful, however flawed fallacy, to attack the person instead of hearing out their point of view and once we dismiss
a person, we do not have to listen.

One of the obstacles of having confidence in a true dialogue is time. One of the hardest things to do, I think, is sit in silence, with an opinion opposite to one’s own—because of the silence, it can imply agreement or revulsion.

And it’s difficult to hear somebody disagree with your beliefs. Much of what we believe, we may not even be able to defend. It just intuitively is or
things we have heard on the news, at work, places of worship, etc. Preparing for difficult conversations and removing the “I must be right” mantra is hard.

But it is humbling to confess we do not know it all. But then comes freedom; freedom to know we do not always need to be right and that it is a truer wisdom to be a student for life. It is a paradox of sorts to hold loosely to your beliefs; as we are often told there must be a diversity of opinions out there—on the other hand we are told that if we do not stand for something, we will fall for anything.

Margaret Wachholz is the campus marketing director at Woodbury Senior Living. In her column, she shares observations and wisdom about aging and
senior living in our community;