7 Tips For Handling Debates With Your Conspiracy Theory-Believing Friends
If you haven't argued with a conspiracy theorist, you've never had the pleasure of fighting to the death over topics that have little to no validation.
They see connections where most people would see coincidences or no relevant association. Almost everything can be verified by a questionable Instagram video or image. And they're about as passionate about their beliefs as I am about pizza.
This is not to say all conspiracy theories are all full of hot air.
Considering a lot of theories involve the government covering something up, you have to figure there has to be some things our government doesn't want us to know.
There must be some rudimentary truth to some of the speculations. And there are definitely theories out there that seem almost verifiable, if not relevant enough to make you question things.
But I'm talking about the type of conspiracy theorist that is down for whatever. This is the type of believer who searches the internet for ideologies to add to their ever growing list of theories.
The hardcore lover of fake news who is always “woke.”
They don't just believe in one or two theories. Oh no, they believe in everything that hits the net that seems to be an undercover operation.
You'll discover the hardest thing to do is to have simple conversations with friends who are this deep into controversial speculations without arguing.
I have two conspiracy experts in my circle, and they can go from zero to 100 real quick. You can start off talking about the weather, and it will turn into a heated argument on the government's attempt to profit over global warming.
The catch-22 is any proof you bring to the conversation can always be interpreted as a cover-up, so there's no definitive way to prove the conspiracies are not true.
Not to worry, here's a list of ways you can have reasonable debates with your conspiracy theory-believing friends without resorting to throwing plates at them:
1. Allow them to explain their logic
You have to imagine the most infuriating part of believing in conspiracy theories has to be the inability to prove, without a reasonable doubt, what you think is a fact.
It can also be frustrating to want to explain why you feel strongly about something and be shut down mid-conversation because someone else thinks what you're saying is radical.
Although you may not agree with your friend's point of view, allow them to explain the reasons why they are devoted to their beliefs. It will ease the tension of the conversation by permitting them to justify why they believe their unconventional theory.
2. Don't try to impose your views on them
The same way you would hate for someone to try to force you to believe there's an elite reptilian race running a covert operation in the midst of our government, don't try to force your friend to think the way you do.
Respect their views, and don't insult your friend for believing in them, no matter how ridiculous their ideas may seem to you.
3. Counter them with facts
Instead of resorting to name-calling, explain why you believe something different than them using real facts.
The real obstacle will be proving those facts are not another red herring. There's no guarantee you will persuade your friend to let go of the conspiracy, but it's the only way to argue a good point.
4. Don't roll your eyes
Another thing that will push them over the edge is exhibiting skepticism. Try to stay neutral while deliberating the existence of aliens.
5. Ask them to remain calm
If their voices begin to rise or they begin to refer to you as “sheeple,” let them know there's no need for the conversation to get heated.
It's a friendly debate, and it shouldn't escalate to something more serious. Asking them to calm down will bring the conversation back to center and if they can't talk without being belligerent, change the subject.
6. Choose your battles
Sometimes you're just going to have to let some discussions go.
It is essential to know which topics to address and which to ignore. So, your dearest friend thinks the world is flat, is it really worth arguing just to prove them wrong?
7. Give the conversation a cutoff point
If it's been three hours and you're still going in circles over #pizzagate, it's time to pull the cord.
Debates that go on for too long are destined to turn into a quarrel.
If some time has passed and you're still repeating yourself, you're no longer debating; you're just hoping you say something enough it sinks in.
For the sake of your friendship and sanity, discontinue the conversation and talk about something else.