“It’s never a good idea to discuss religion or politics with people you don’t really know.” Agree or disagree?
Because most of us feel pretty strongly about whatever we believe regarding religion and politics, I can see the wisdom of not bringing up those topics with someone you’ve just met or don’t know very well.
However. Big however. To avoid those topics, we are often reduced to talking about the weather (boring), books we’ve read or movies we’ve seen (the other person may not read or go to movies), sports (I don’t care!) or our children/grandchildren (they don’t care!)
So how do you get to know someone well enough to be able to talk about things that really matter?
Carefully, I guess. I think nearly everyone we’re likely to meet is appalled by the slaughter being committed by Radical Islam, for instance. But you have to be careful not to lump all Muslims into that category, in the same way you shouldn’t lump all white people into the racist category.
Is anyone listening yet?
Maybe it would be okay to discuss history or hobbies or pets. I’ve found the safest thing is just to get the other person talking about himself. Where was he born? Are his parents still alive? What kind of education does he have? What work does he do? What does he like to do to relax? Does she have hobbies you may share? Children? Grandchildren? What were her favorite books, growing up? What does she dream about doing with her life? Does she have any deep-seated phobias?
You’d be surprised how willing people are to talk about their phobias. Spiders, snakes, mice, water, heights, elevators–it’s an endless list. There can be some really interesting conversation around these things.
And eventually, as you get to know someone better, you’ll find yourselves talking about matters of faith and politics because, after all, those are two of the most fundamental things that influence our lives.