When we dislike someone, whether for their externals, intentions or mere presentation, we have a habit of finding the flaws that we’re looking for.
Generalisations – You are this, therefore, you believe this. We purposefully misread benign words spoken or even downright misquote.
There are millions of pieces to make up the extraordinarily complex being standing in front of you. By you going out of your way to reducing a person, to force them into a frame or label that you have attached to them or that they themselves umbrella themselves under is a way to simplify the world to a fault. The world isn’t that simple.
Accepting the full complexity of this creature before you means that you appreciate that it’s not just black and white, good and bad. Parts may be flawed but others are fundamentally good. Or even more difficult to accept; one may have good reasons to believe something bad.
Don’t misquote, don’t purposefully misread. Understand that the only way to trigger change is by arguing the actual and true opinions shared by this person. Intentionally misreading a statement means you are arguing the falsehood of something that was never argued to be true to begin with.