So your guy friend is explaining his thoughts on the state of the world to you, and all you can think is, “This is a person who willingly commutes via bicycle even in the absolute worst weather conditions. Shouldn’t I take this with a grain of salt?” No, no you shouldn’t. He deserves your full attention and consideration because you are a nice person (even if his stubborn delusional thinking does lead him to believe conspiracy theories about the heads of state getting together for secret meetings with Monsanto, and also to try to bike through a foot of snow without a helmet on). Here’s how to take him seriously even though he willfully ignores the limitations of reality:
Focus on His Facts, Not Yours
If you hold onto what you know to be true, it will only interfere with whatever he’s about to say. Just remember that he’s totally correct in telling you that “jet fuel can’t melt steel beams” and that “if everyone commuted via bike, we’d have greener air.” You might think that steel doesn’t need to melt in order to be structurally compromised, and that he rode to your place even though there are literal blizzard conditions outside, but try to focus on the ideas that he’s bringing to the table. He’s technically right and that’s probably what you should focus on. Don’t spend too much time trying to rationalize his opinions or why someone would bike in the snow. It’s just not worth it.
Promise to Read his Essay on Medium
While you may want to spend your time reading the political essays of esteemed journalists who don’t cycle through icy streets regardless of extreme weather conditions, you should at least give this guy a chance. His ideas, like his commitment to traveling on two wheels no matter what, are incredibly passionate. This is in itself sort of inspiring, even if he does believe that the Obama administration orchestrated the Benghazi attack. Give him the benefit of the doubt and tell him you’ll look over his thorough argument. He’s not going to stop any of this, including putting on snow pants and biking in the snow, so you might as well placate him.
Admit Your Ignorance
Sure, his opinions on the Kennedy assassination sound completely fantastical and wrong, but you do have to admit you never spent much time reading up on the subject, just as you’ve never tried to ride your bike in the snow. So, do you really even know if it’s that dangerous? It is, but…just let him have this. He’s going to have it whether you allow him to or not. He’s been explaining this Kennedy theory for most of his adult life—almost as long as he’s been an unrepentant snow-biker.
It’s a given that men who bike through the snow are, politically speaking, among the most stubborn people on the planet. So why fight it? You can’t stop them and you can’t win. Just keep nodding until it’s spring again or he grows up, whichever comes first.