It’s interesting that both start with the letter “d," but I think of dialogue as a process that allows us to “think together.”
With discussion I always think of it as more or an intimate relationship, more of a drawing together of people, where most jump in with their opinions with little pause or reflection.
In fact, I had to really stop and think about how the two compare and picture how a discussion would be vs a dialogue. And this is what came to mind:
THERE’S A PROBLEM IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD AND THE NEIGHBORS UP IN ARMS ABOUT IT
First neighbor says: I think we should file a complaint with the city.
Second neighbor says: If we do that, then we’ll have to stay on top of it and go to all those stupid meetings.
Third neighbor says: I think we just should wait and see if it dies down. I don’t want to create any more problems.
Fourth neighbor says: It’s our right to file a complaint. Why does everyone always think that creates more problems?
To me that’s a “discussion”
THE SAME PROBLEM IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD WITH THE SAME NEIGHBORS UP IN ARMS
First neighbor says: I wonder why the city keeps letting this happen?
Second neighbor says: I’m sure they have a good reason for it. Maybe it’s the best way for them to go about it.
Third neighbor says: I can barely run my business, let alone an entire city. That has to be tough.
Fourth neighbor says: We should also keep in mind that the city has done some pretty great things. So maybe we should just let it go and see what happens.
To me that’s a “dialogue”
One leads to a resolution and the other just goes on and on. So easy to see how you can remove the “debate and argue” from it.