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I just got one of those Grammarly ads on YouTube where the person gets instructed to be more assertive with the ideas they’re suggesting. This advice has become conventional wisdom, especially in business writing, but I think it sucks.

In a Facebook discussion a few years back, a friend of mine told someone “It seems like you’re listening to respond, not to understand.” That statement has stuck with me over the years.

I would suggest that our discourse is made materially worse by this tactic of approaching conversations primarily as means of gaining rhetorical advantage. The tactic of never caveating or couching anything you say as what you think or how you feel leads to an ever-escalating war of words and closes off the possibility of different points of view and diverse experiences of the world.

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