WHEN I WAS in high school, I remember my friends and I making the observation that when we didn't have girlfriends, girls didn't seem interested in us, but once we had a girlfriend, suddenly interested girls were everywhere we turned. And we knew why: Because we no longer felt we needed a girlfriend. We didn't have that anxious mood about us any more. If girls liked us, that was fine with us. And if they didn't like us, that was fine with us too, now that we had someone who liked us a lot. We were confident, self-assured, and relaxed.
The same principle applies to talking about Islam. If you can find a way to not "need" someone to believe you or agree with you, they are more likely to believe you and agree with you.
So if you find yourself getting somewhat upset during conversations about Islam, I suggest you change the way you think about it so if someone agrees with you, that's fine with you. And if they don't agree with you, that's fine with you too. But I mean really fine with you (rather than trying to convince yourself it's fine, even though you are actually upset). Find a way to think about it so you feel good about it however the conversation goes.
How can you think about it so you have that kind of relaxed confidence? Experiment with different perspectives and see what works for you. For example, I have convinced myself that I am on "the leading edge" and that eventually it will become common knowledge that the doctrines of Islam are not peaceful but intolerant, politically domineering, and violent. Over the last nine years of writing this blog, I have seen good evidence that my assumption is true: More and more non-Muslims are waking up to the truth about Islam.
Since that's the case, any particular individual I'm talking to doesn't really matter in the long run. If they believe me, I have gained one more recruit to our side. If they don't believe me at the moment, they will eventually learn the truth, and they'll remember I'm the one who said it first. I know this is a little silly, but this perspective works for me. It helps me not have any anxiety about whether they are convinced or not. This helps prevent me from getting upset, and makes me more persuasive.
Here's another perspective I have deliberately cultivated: There are already a whole bunch of us who have educated ourselves about Islam. In other words, I already have a girlfriend. Of course, being Citizen Warrior, I am in communication with a lot of people who share my understanding of Islam. But anyone can find plenty of like-minded thinkers by reading the comments on Take the Pledge: Read the Quran, reading the comments on Jihad Watch articles, joining a counterjihad Facebook group, etc. You can easily expose yourself to an almost unlimited number of educated counterjihadists who share your understanding of the situation. And when you do, it will help you feel less alone, isolated, or "needing" anyone's approval on this topic.
And another perspective I cultivate is a trust that if things get worse — if we can't reach enough people fast enough — it will only cause more people to open their minds to the facts about Islam (click here for an example). There was a strong movement in the United States against getting involved in "Europe's war" until the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Then suddenly the majority of Americans completely changed their opinion.
I know what you're thinking: 9/11 didn't suddenly change everyone's opinion. But it did wake up many of us, and we're waking up the rest. And each "mistake" orthodox Muslims make causes more of us to awaken, so even if I completely fail to convince anyone in a one-on-one conversation, I have planted the seeds of understanding, and as events unfold, they will come to see the truth, so I don't need to convince them now.
These perspectives help me stay relaxed in conversations, and make me more persuasive. I'm sure they are but a few of the many possible perspectives that might help. Experiment with yourself and find what works for you. And if you would be so kind, please share with us what works here: Talk About Islam Among Non-Muslims.