The “Other Side” Is Not Dumb
There’s a fun game I like to play in a group of trusted friends called “Controversial Opinion.” The rules are simple: Don’t talk about what was shared during Controversial Opinion afterward and you aren’t allowed to “argue” — only to ask questions about why that person feels that way. Opinions can range from “I think James Bond movies are overrated” to “I think Donald Trump would make a excellent president.”
Usually, someone responds to an opinion with, “Oh my god! I had no idea you were one of those people!” Which is really another way of saying “I thought you were on my team!”
In psychology, the idea that everyone is like us is called the “false-consensus bias.” This bias often manifests itself when we see TV ratings (“Who the hell are all these people that watch NCIS?”) or in politics (“Everyone I know is for stricter gun control! Who are these backwards rubes that disagree?!”) or polls (“Who are these people voting for Ben Carson?”).