Sounds Reasonable

A while back, I had an acquaintance who confessed to me that he had a particular phrase he used to avoid arguments. If someone was telling him an opinion that he did not agree with, but did not feel worth the effort of a disagreement, he would say, “That sounds reasonable.” His hearer felt flattered at being reasonable, and was none the wiser to my friend’s opinion. Thankfully, he forgot that he told me about this technique. Then later, when he told me I “sounded reasonable” I knew he didn’t agree, but didn’t want to fight about it.

I grew up in a family of folks with loud, well-expressed opinions. Several went on to make it a career of it and became lawyers. Sometimes Thanksgiving dinner resembled the practice for a debate team.

Over the years, I have moved from being an active member of the “debate” team to saving my energy for the discussions that are especially important to me. I am hoping that this makes me more effective and not just more agreeable.

I don’t know. What do you think? Sound reasonable?

2 thoughts on “Sounds Reasonable

  1. kris says:

    Yes, I agree. Your argument does “sound reasonable”!

    I sometimes use a similar phrase: “That’s an interesting viewpoint.”

    My extended family is a mix of vocal liberals and conservatives. Like you, I find that sometimes I don’t want to be part of the debate team.


  2. Tim says:

    I grew up in a similar family and at school friends thought I would be a lawyer when I grew up. Now I argue with computers…

    My wife just says “hmmm” when she disagrees or I say something wrong. Sometimes I still do not catch it when she says “hmm” to me…


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