When Affirmation friends and members discuss difficulties arising from
living in a homophobic church and society, anger and frustration can
sometimes get out of control. Discussion group leaders should encourage
a free exchange of ideas and establish some guidelines for keeping conflicts
at a minimum. Many conflicts stem directly or indirectly from sloppy
habits of verbal communication. All of us have had arguments that turned
out to be "just semantics." The following is a list of suggested DO's
and DON'T's aimed at helping prevent the needless conflict that results
from careless habits of communication.
DON'T use "you" when "one" is what you mean, and especially when
"I" is what you mean.
DO verbalize disagreements as soon as they arise.
DON'T attack a person with whom you disagree.
DO affirm the fact that in spite of the disagreement, the other
person might be right.
DON'T take inflexible stands on issues about which you are really
DO listen fully to what the other person is saying.
DON'T make up your next speech while the other person is talking.
DO let the other person finish their sentences without interruption.
DO apologize or request permission for interruptions you feel
DON'T make assumptions about the other person's position. Ask.
DO make sure you agree with the other person on basic definitions.
DO seek points of agreement to form a positive backdrop for your
DON'T suppress anger. Let the other person know if you are angry
DO admit frankly that you are wrong, if you see that you are.
Few things inspire respect more quickly.
DON'T say behind someone's back what you would not say to him/her.
DO take care to assure yourself that necessary agreements have
been reached prior to action to them.
DON'T speak authoritatively about that on which you are not an
authority. It tends to box one's ego into a corner.