We use the word “reasonable” so often but sometimes forget what it actually means. It simply defines someone who even when they have an idea or decision; can be swayed by facts superior to theirs.
It is where the point of “listening to reason” is drawn from. You need to have reasons for taking a stance, backing an argument or taking a decision. When most things you do are drawn from arbitrary feelings, things can quickly become chaotic.
Signs You Are Not Reasonable
Do people just hate arguing with you? This might not be a clear indicator, but it can be a sign that you are not reasonable. Most times people would give reasons why they do not like back-and-forths with you. Reasons can be;
“You never change your mind no matter the evidence presented.” This is a clear pointer that you are not reasonable. It shows that you have made a decision and you feel nobody’s input matters. It could stem from a lot of things, e.g. You feel you are the smartest in the room or you are so in love the idea that you cannot let it go.
Once you hear someone say “calm down” during an argument. You are starting to get emotionally attached to an idea. When in a position to make important decisions, always try your best to make them based on facts and not on how you feel. If you make decisions on how you feel, you might be correct, but the process is not reproducible.
Murdering the Messenger
There are arguments you would observe that slowly devolve into insults. This has gone outside logic; emotions have come in and taken complete control. People end up attacking the person and not their ideas anymore, it is petty and really of no use. It does not move the argument forward, but instead ensures that both parties do not have a pleasurable experience.
How to Be Reasonable
Being reasonable is pretty straight forward; you can start by looking at the points above and simply not doing those things. Being reasonable also stems from separating ideas and points from emotions, an easy thing to say, but very difficult to do.
When presented with superior evidence or facts, be objective, make sure you understand it and be open to the idea of changing your mind. It is easy to ask logical questions to clarify, if you do not understand, ask them to restate the points in a different way.
Reasonable people are a joy to have conversations with. Their points are backed by facts and they move to incorporate points from other people’s arguments to strengthen theirs.
When someone else presents points that are better than yours, it isn’t because they are smart or you are dumb. Different viewpoints just give another perspective to a problem and everyone draws from their wealth of life experiences to face any problem they encounter.
Be reasonable, it doesn’t take much; and your friends will love you for it.