I love to see how the discussion develops supporting both sides of an argument. As much as I love to observe a good discussion, I also like to participate. And a good discussion often has the power to shift my existing opinion or create a strong one if I did not before.
The beauty and the obstacle of discussion is the fact that people want themselves to be perceived favourably. This can cause two possible outcomes: either a participant can be too intimidated to speak up, or they are pressured to develop they argument into a strong one before saying it out loud. This is why it is good to sometimes be in an intimidating environment – that can make us push our boundaries and make the best of our abilities.
However, it takes a lot of courage to develop a strong argument, whereas it doesn’t take much to agree with the direction of the dominant position. This can result in “spiral of silence” where the minority opinions are silenced completely over the time. This can be caused also by participating in discussion with people that we think are a lot alike us. The individuals don’t want their reputation to suffer in eyes of those who they think of as similar to them.
In groups that are significantly different from me, I tend to agree less with their opinions; also I am more likely to speak up because of the lack of pressure to be perceived favourably. I am less likely to agree with what the others are saying and consistent to express my opinion to change theirs. The same way it takes less courage to develop an argument when in a group of people with similar views. For me this raised a question if it is better to communicate and discuss with people who are not similar to me, because of the bigger probability that I will speak up my mind. (?)
Good conversation is all about the opinion clashes and arguments behind those. There are many obstacles that stand in way of expressing one’s ideas. It highly depends on the environment, the group and the consistency of opinions. People tend to pick discussion groups with similar views. But the question is if that is the best way to provide a qualitative discussion. The comfort zone is not always the best place in life.