How Do You Change Someone Else’s Mind?

Each war is different. Each war is the same. / Photo Kevin Dooley

If someone doesn’t have the same opinion as you, most people take it personally.

That was a great movie! How can you not like it? This music sucks! Your taste is awful. And so on.

Our preference often becomes part of our identity. So when someone else doesn’t share your preference, we feel they’re insulting us personally. And this isn’t limited to music/movies/food.

Politics and religion also falls under the identity umbrella. Some people believe the US should have invaded Iraq. They have based their opinions on what they read/watch and what they believe they “know.”

Radical fundamentalists hate our freedom. War is unfortunate but necessary.

If you try and demand otherwise, it doesn’t matter. Any amount of facts won’t change the mind of a person who has already settled on “the truth”. Persisting will only cause them to feel their worldview (and by extension, identity) is being personally attacked.

So how do you change someone else’s mind? You can’t…directly.

You can only offer alternative information. If they choose to absorb it – to allow it into the realm of possibility – then you just might have a chance.


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