Every interaction with someone presents the choice to either maintain footing or to cover some distance to meet the other person where they are at.
Maintaining footing is about defaulting to projection — expecting the other person to think as you think, to see as you see, and to feel as you feel.
Meeting the person where they are at, on the other hand, is about making an effort to discover areas of common ground, differences in perspective, and to seek to understand what these discoveries can teach you about the person you’re engaging with and the world.
Maintaining footing in any conversation is a nonstarter because there isn’t any actual exchanging of ideas and therefore conversation to be had.
If the goal is to achieve mutual understanding, solve problems, and help others, then the only option that makes sense is the one that involves you generously listening, understanding, and responding.