Changing how we talk about triggering topics

July 6, 2021

Ladies, we have to stop jumping down each other’s damn throats, especially on social media!! It’s disheartening the way we go after each other, even when someone makes a genuine mistake or misstep. Attacking each other will get us nowhere. But having real conversations, listening, and educating each other will. It’s time to change our approach when it comes to how we communicate about triggering topics.

graphic illustrations for blog post how to talk about triggering topics for women

And trust us when we say we get it, we are in the same boat and have found ourselves on the offense with other women on topics near and dear to us too. There are some things that are so emotionally triggering that it feels impossible to keep your cool, even when the comment or conversation doesn’t warrant an aggressive response (pro-lifers and a%*&#@$s who claim that the climate crisis is a conspiracy tend to really push some of those buttons for us). But as soon as we start to take the offense the conversations go downhill, just like we see happening all over social media.

So, hear us out. When we approach a conversation on the offense right off the bat one of two things happens:

  1. The other person shuts down and disassociates with the conversation, cause, conflict, or topic and you just lost an ally. Or
  2. They become defensive and give any intended or unintended aggression right back, sometimes tenfold, and you have just found yourself in a conversation that can only end badly.

Something we really want to note here is that many of the important topics that we feel so passionately about are not simple by any means. There is complicated language, perspectives, history, and context involved that not everyone will already know or understand. So, it is ESPECIALLY important that we don’t become aggressive towards people who genuinely make a mistake or misstep in their efforts to navigate some of these complexities.

In our opinion, the best approach to these conversations involved three things:

  1. Starting a real, two way conversation. This involves asking questions, avoiding combative responses, and trying to make a connection with the other person.
  2. Listening. You have to really listen (or read) what the other person is saying. It can be easy for us to be more concerned about how we want to respond and get our point across, but the other persons responses give us an opportunity to see another perspective and learn more about the complexities of a topic.
  3. Trying to educate the other person if there are things they don’t understand or know when it comes to the matter at hand. And doing it nicely. This could be as simple as making suggestions about language used or a bit more involved like explaining the context or history or a topic. Offering sources is always a great idea.

Now, this isn’t always going to work and sometimes it’s just best to walk away, which is even harder than keeping your cool if you ask us. But in all reality, there are always going to be a%*&#@$s who have no interest in hearing what you have to say and are really just looking to get your goat. Screw ‘em. Don’t waste your time or energy, you have better people to talk to and make connections with.

Let us leave you with a few does and don’ts we try to keep in mind when we join in on conversations that can be challenging:

graphic for blog post how to talk about triggering topics for women