Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Beware of the Hot Potato

There are two reasons people throw hot potatoes at you.  Either they genuinely care about what you're thinking and feeling about an issue or they want to blow you up.  I have an easy method to determine their motives – throw it back.  You won't get burned.  All you need to do is ask a question.  My favorite question is, "why do you ask?"  Now they have the hot potato.  Another one that works is, "why is that important to you?"  If they're trying to burn you, they'll end up blowing themselves up because you tossed the hot potato back in the form of a why question and you thwarted their attack.

Here are some sample questions people ask when they want to pick a fight:

What church do you go to?  
Are you a Republican or Democrat?
Can you believe what's going on at the border?

These questions may look innocent on the surface.  Caution.  You may not be dealing with someone who is trying to get to know you better.  These questions may be more like ticking time bombs.  If you toss back a why question and they say something like, "all Democrats are socialists," you now know you're in the danger zone. Or if they say, "Only people from my faith go to Heaven," you're very close to entering World War III.

Once you understand where the other person is coming from, you're in a better position to have an intelligent discussion.  Don't be afraid to toss back the hot potato and keep tossing it until you uncover the hidden motives.

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