There are three things that we say should never be discussed online. Religion, politics and sexuality. It’s because these things have the potential to create arguments of such magnitude, it becomes simply impressive. Humans love arguing. Sorry, but it’s true. We get real kicks out of winning and argument and putting one over on the person that you feel is wrong. The Daily Prompt today says ‘“It’s never a good idea to discuss religion or politics with people you don’t really know.” Agree or disagree?’
With people you don’t really know? Hey, it’s thin ice. I’ve never understood why the phrase ‘skating on thin ice’ relates to ‘getting into hot water’ in a physical sense, but the meaning is clear. Some things have the potential to cause trouble. If you want to risk it, then knock yourself out. However, there are far easier ways of getting the conversation going than hitting the taboo topics. My friends today decided on the best conversational icebreaker: ‘If you could be any mollusk, what would you be?’ Well, I can’t see myself bringing out the big guns with that cracker at a nightclub, but maybe on day one at a marine biology course.
Obviously, there can be hints on people views. If a person is wearing a cross necklace for example, they may be a Christian. If you are too, you could comment and find common ground. If there are no signifiers though, use the mollusk line.
You never know everything about a person. For example, today I was in class with a friend. I can’t remember exactly what I said, but the subject was his mother (not an insult, mind). He turned to me, deadpan, and said “Because my mum is dead.” I’ve known him since starting college four months ago. However, I don’t actually have any proof that his mum is or isn’t alive. He’s a very witty guy, and normally I’d just toss it away as a joke. However, it just put me off, he acts all too well. I’m not sure whether he is or isn’t telling the truth. He was in a full conservation with somebody a few hours later, and I asked him ‘A, did your mum drive you to college today?’ and he told me immediately she was dead. Not even thinking about the answer – it wasn’t on topic. It’s just made me uncomfortable until such a point where I know whether or not it’s true.
If you don’t want to be in that position, don’t broach unfamiliar ground.