Can We Just Agree to Disagree?

My mother hated talking about or hearing about politics. Her family and friends knew this, and if someone still talked politics, she would simply leave the room. She made her opinion clear and, for the most part, people respected it. Mom was anything but wishy-washy.

I have seen the damage done when people either don’t speak up or they choose to harp on about subjects that offend family and friends. Personally, I don’t want to offend anyone with my views on certain subjects; I tend to keep those things to myself.

If someone asks, I may share my views, or I may not. If I know ahead of time that someone I care about has different views than I do, I just steer clear of the issues. Friendship is more important.

I used to have a computer tech who did residential computer work installing new systems, etc. He said that he had lost ten friends because of his choice for the presidential election. They were so offended that they “unfriended” him on Facebook. His response to them was this: “If ten years of friendship is lost over my choice for president, then we weren’t good friends to begin with.”

I have endured many verbal assaults because I was too worried about hurting someone’s feelings and didn’t speak up. What I didn’t think about was how it affected me. I don’t like discussing controversial things with friends; we may think different ways about some things, but that shouldn’t affect a friendship.

So how do we let our friends and dear ones know that we don’t wish to engage in conversation that will divide us and not nourish our love and friendship? I’m beginning to think that Mom’s way was the right way all along; make your position clear. When we know that someone’s spiritual or political views differ vastly from our own, we can agree to disagree and let the subject go.

In the long run, what’s really more important?

 

 

 

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One thought on “Can We Just Agree to Disagree?

  1. pamkirst2014 says:

    Jane,

    I taught with a wonderful teacher, Scott, who recently retired, and we had several long conversations about how important it is to lead students to discover HOW to think…without imposing what WE think on their developing critical thinking skills… I always wondered, though, when a student brought up a viewpoint that truly distressed or offended me, how much of my reaction to share. It’s a struggle, isn’t it? We don’t want to turn friendships and relationships into battlegrounds; we don’t want to compromise our firmly held beliefs… I always try to steer the talk back to values I know we share, but then I wonder: am I wimping out?

    Thanks for another wonderful post!

    Pam

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