Internet conversations are vulnerable to assumptions, especially about what is actually shared between the participants. Sometimes it helps to trim all those away. Assume as little as possible about what the other person knows or believes. And ask yourself if you can think of a reasonable motive and perspectives for that person to have written what they have. And really, you ought to be able to think of several.

Now, ask yourself, do any of those reasons or perspectives give you a better way to communicate, or will they just prevent you communicating with each other? That ought to tell you what to do next. And remember, if you can’t think of a motive or perspective, then you shouldn’t assume there isn’t one. It’s just one you don’t know or understand. And that’s fine.

And at the end of the day, they are either not a reasonable person or you can’t find a way to relate to them as one. And in either case, you’re not likely to be communicating much of anything. So, perhaps you should be asking if you are being unreasonable too.

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