Talking over dinner to my friend Top, who I have known for 15 years.
Me: "I got into an argument with X over email. It was stressful. [more details about the argument]"
Top: "In these situations, I aim to re-iterate what our common goals are. There are probably a lot more goals you share in common, than goals that conflict with each other."
Me: "True. I did spend part of the email validating her goals. But that was the third paragraph, after I spent two long paragraphs expounding on my goals. Also the third paragraph was much shorter. I probably should have opened with the third paragraph."
Top: "When we're each standing on a hill, and you want me to go over to your hill, the best way is to come walk over to me, and then say, 'Hey, let's walk together to my hill.'"
Top: "If you just stand on your hill and shout, 'Hey! Come over here!', that doesn't work. I don't want to hear you yelling at me. I'm very comfortable here on my hill. But if you come over to me, now I know that you see what my hill is about. And you can see what your hill looks like from the perspective of standing on my hill. So now I'm much more willing to walk with you to see your hill."
Me: "Wow, that is really well-stated."