How to Defend Yourself Without Appearing Defensive
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When people don't trust you, you’re already at a big disadvantage and anything you say can be dismissed as mere defensive revenge.
The best you can do is to resist fighting for infallibility. Instead, defend everyone's fallibility. You will regain credibility if you posture as a learner, not someone last-word learned.
Aristotle’s distinction between three aspects of rhetoric:
Be careful during the debate, knowing you may have to withdraw in the end. If you take good care, you can withdraw with the consolation of thoroughness. Though you tried hard to restore common ground, you didn’t succeed.
If you have an exit strategy, a way to explain to yourself why you didn’t restore common ground, you won’t feel panicked and tempted to force them into restoring trust in you.
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