There was a best seller a few years ago called Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.  I’ve forgotten six of the habits, but one stuck with me.  Here it is: when you’re talking to somebody, the main thing is to be sure you understand what he’s saying.  Once you’re sure you really understand his point of view, then (and only then) do you get to tell him your take on things.  I figure that, if we got this one habit right, we’d avoid a lot of arguments and heartache and maybe even some wars.  But we hardly ever do.  We tie ourselves in knots trying to make sure the other person understands us.  We repeat ourselves and raise our voices and do everything we can to keep the floor.  The problem is that the other person is usually doing the same thing.  Both people are so busy trying to be understood that nobody’s trying to understand.  Nobody’s listening.  You end up with dueling monologues, and everybody loses.  So it's probably worth the effort to learn a new habit that ends in win-win instead.