It’s football season! And with football comes fun, food, friends, and sometimes fights—fights over who roots for the best team or players.
Sports fans with Crucial Conversations skills can keep their friendly banter without fighting. Here are some tips for how to talk sports and keep your friends:
- Look for areas of agreement. Begin by reinforcing what you have in common—your love of the game. Sports rivalries are usually over team loyalties or favorite players, not the sport itself. Let the other person know you share a common interest, even if your preferred teams and players differ.
- Avoid personal attacks. Find ways to remind the other person that you respect him or her. Look at the situation from his or her perspective by asking yourself why a reasonable and rational person would hold that viewpoint. While you don’t have to agree with the view, you can still acknowledge the point is valid rather than “idiotic.”
- Focus on the facts. Arguments often become heated when people exaggerate, twist, and spin the facts. Consider the source of your facts and ask the other person to do the same.
- Keep it safe by looking for signs of silence or violence. If the other person grows quiet or starts to become defensive, step out of the content of the discussion and reinforce your respect for him or her.