Once In A Blue Moon


Civil conversation is the cornerstone of a harmonious society. It’s a skill that allows us to communicate effectively, resolve conflicts, and maintain positive relationships. In an era where disagreements often escalate into hostility, mastering the art of being civil in conversation has never been more crucial. In this article, we will explore what civility in conversation means and provide examples to help you become a more adept communicator.

Understanding Civility in Conversation

Civility in conversation involves displaying respect, empathy, and politeness towards others, even when discussing challenging topics or dealing with differences of opinion. It is about creating an environment where everyone feels heard and valued, fostering a sense of connection rather than division. Let’s delve into the art of being civil with some practical examples.

  1. Active Listening

Civil conversation begins with active listening. When someone speaks, make a conscious effort to understand their perspective. For instance:

Example: In a discussion about climate change, instead of immediately countering with your views, say, “I hear your concerns about climate change, and I’d like to understand more about your perspective.”

  1. Avoid Personal Attacks

Resist the temptation to attack the person instead of addressing their argument. Engage with their ideas, not their character:

Example: Instead of saying, “You’re always so ignorant about economics,” try, “I disagree with your economic analysis because…”

  1. Use “I” Statements

Express your feelings and thoughts using “I” statements to avoid sounding accusatory:

Example: Instead of saying, “You make me so angry when you do that,” say, “I feel frustrated when this happens because…”

  1. Stay Calm

Maintaining composure, especially during heated discussions, is a mark of civility:

Example: When faced with an agitated conversation partner, say, “I understand this topic is important to you, and I’d like to continue this discussion calmly.”

  1. Find Common Ground

Highlighting shared beliefs or values can bridge divides and foster a more civil conversation:

Example: In a debate about healthcare, you might say, “We both want accessible healthcare; our disagreement is about how to achieve it.”

  1. Acknowledge Mistakes

If you realize you were mistaken, don’t hesitate to admit it:

Example: “I appreciate your point; I see now that I misunderstood the facts. Thank you for correcting me.”

  1. Empathize

Demonstrate empathy by acknowledging the emotions of others:

Example: “I can see that this topic upsets you. I’m here to listen and understand how you feel.”

  1. Use Polite Language

Employ courteous language and avoid profanity or insults:

Example: Instead of using derogatory terms, say, “I respectfully disagree with your stance on this issue.”

  1. Agree to Disagree

Sometimes, it’s best to acknowledge differences and move on:

Example: “It seems we won’t reach a consensus on this. Let’s agree to disagree and focus on areas where we can collaborate.”


The art of being civil in conversation is an essential skill for effective communication and building positive relationships. By actively listening, avoiding personal attacks, using “I” statements, staying calm, finding common ground, acknowledging mistakes, empathizing, using polite language, and being open to agreeing to disagree, you can elevate your conversational skills and contribute to a more civil and understanding society. Remember, civility doesn’t mean suppressing your opinions but expressing them respectfully and constructively.

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