Something that I’ve personally tried to incorporate into my debating is a concept I term “Iron Man” thinking- always taking the opponent’s argument at it’ strongest. This, as some of you may have already guessed, is meant to be the polar opposite of the “straw man fallacy”, or misconstruing the opponent’s argument as something weaker than it ought to be. This was something I found myself doing a lot in terms of my argumentation, and the necessary implication of it was sub-par rebuttals on my own side- lacking in terms of depth and breadth. Assuming that the opposition has put forth a weak argument implies that it can be countered with something equally weak- which probably isn’t the best way to think, in any case.
Hence, ironic as it is, giving credit to the opposition’s arguments, in turn, helps your own case. It takes maturity and analysis to take down a well-argued case, so always assume that the opposition case is as deep and structured as you can. It gives you more matter to counter and analyze, and I’m sure they would appreciate it as well. 🙂
I do think that this principle can be extrapolated to social and personal relationships in general too- treating people with good faith, and seeing the good in the whole of their character probably contributes much to making ourselves better people. Any negative condescension is replaced with a positive catalyst to learn and to grow, and we start to see the world in a completely different light- one filled with potential, diversity and excitement.
Oh, and pardon the debating metaphor- weird as it seems, my thoughts usually run in terms like this.
(Yes, I like debating that much.)