*When defending the ownership of guns:
- Please stop saying that a gun is "just a tool." Sure, yes, guns are objects that cannot think or feel or act on their own. That's an important thing to point out, and the way we think about guns and how we treat mental health is an important component of a problem we're discussing nationally in the United States. But relying on implications that a gun is like a hammer or a screwdriver is refusing to acknowledge that the type of guns we're talking about are tools DESIGNED SOLELY FOR THE KILLING OF LIVING THINGS, and it is not very helpful.
- Yes, it is important to point out that the idea that we might do better if we legislate/license/skill-test guns "like we do cars" is a comparison that breaks down after a certain point. Cars are much larger and more widely owned; you can buy and sell them on craigslist; you're allowed to do basically anything you like with a car when they're on private property; the laws about transporting them are very different, because they ARE transport. These are all good points that would be interesting to make and to talk about at length. However, to say that the comparison breaks down and therefore is entirely without merit is to present an all-or-nothing fallacy, and it is not very helpful.
- If you are the owner of a penis, and someone says you are compensating for something with your guns, that is a shitty personal attack, and not a good argument. The correct way to respond and elevate the argument back to reasonable terms is NOT TO PROVIDE PHOTOGRAPHIC PROOF, particularly publicly on social media. That doesn't help anything at all and is also disgusting.
*In fact, regardless of gender, even if engaging in hot and heavy digital courtship with a partner, do not take photographs of your genitalia and send them to your partner unless your partner requests them.
*Resisting conversational urges, a primer in speaking with fellow humans. When conversing with someone you like, RESIST THE URGE.
RESIST THE URGE TO:
- interrupt. If you notice you've been doing it, apologize.
- seize upon some topic/keyword in their speech and use it to make yourself feel relevant or smart, or as a jumping-off point for a topic of conversation you prefer. "You said that ruined your vacation? I went on vacation last year to Aruba, and it was terrific." NOPE. Actually *listen* and reflect. "I'm so sorry your vacation was ruined! You must have felt cheated out of your time off when you had to go to the hospital." A little while later, if there is a lull in the conversation, THEN you can say, "Oh, earlier you reminded me that I wanted to tell you about Aruba, did you know that Holy Thursday is a big holiday there?"
- equate or lie. Do not equate someone else's problems with yours, do not assume that similar experiences grant you knowledge of their thoughts and reactions, do not ever say that you know just how another person thinks, feels, intends, or experiences. Resist the urge to empathize to the nth degree; just use your empathy to reflect and sympathize. Do not lie. If you actually like the person you're talking to, do not heavily imply that you have seen the Barber of Seville when you actually have no idea if that is a dude or an opera or a hipster bar, just say, "I have no idea what that is, please tell me about it." This is an excellent conversational tactic, because people love talking about things they enjoy.
- leave conversational traps. It's very satisfying to realize that your conversational partner has never heard of Madame Butterfly and to say something like, "And you know how THAT goes," hoping that the other person will go, "No, I have no idea, please talk to me about tragic operas for twenty minutes." And you might think it's cute to ask out of the blue "Did it hurt?" hoping they'll say "Did what hurt?" so you can explain, "When you fell from heaven," but it turns out that leaving conversational traps does not make you look smart or cute, it makes you look like a jerk. Your object should always be to get your conversational partner talking more than you do.
- fidget or yawn during silences. Smile. Give a quiet contented sigh. Nod. Enjoy the silence. Have a sip of water. Check your phone if you must. Keep your body language open. Show your conversational partner that you are comfortable and do not feel pressured.
- fix their problems. If your conversational partner begins to vent or complain about something, follow these three steps:
- Wait until your partner has finished speaking. While they are speaking, it is appropriate to nod, make small nonverbal contributions like "uh-huh" or "oh," and react with facial expressions.
- Reflect and sympathize and ask relevant questions: "That sounds like it would be really frustrating, I'm so sorry. Wait, did you say your boss did that TWICE last week?"
- After they are finished accepting your reflection and sympathy and answering your questions, THEN you may ask permission to get your fix-it on. "Hey, so, do you mind if I ask, are you thinking of leaving your job? Do you want support for that, like I would help you draft a current resume and put the word out to folks I know in your field, if you wanted, or are you just venting?" ONLY offer help that you are actually willing and able to give. If you can't help, you will probably feel frustrated. It's okay to express that frustration. "Augh, I wish I could tell you everything will be fine and give you a million dollars and a new job. I think you deserve good things."
- As a side note, NEVER offer advice that requires a TARDIS to implement. "Oh, you should have unplugged that toaster if you thought you smelled a short in the cord burning the plastic, then your house wouldn't have caught fire" is not helpful or kind. Your conversational partner has already been thinking that since the fire.