We live in a society where everyone has an opinion and no one is afraid to share it. We can disagree on basically anything. Coke or Pepsi? Pizza or pasta? Apple or Android? Pro-life or Pro-Choice? Hillary or Trump? The list is endless. We could spend our whole lives disagreeing with the people around us. The growth of social media has made this even more possible, and because we can sit at our laptops and smartphones and not be face to face, we are more apt to disagree and become disagreeable without discussing the issue at hand. I have been blocked by two people this year who I considered close friends, on Facebook. Why? Because I shared an opinion they did not agree with and instead of being rational, they reacted and went to the extreme of blocking me! This made me think about the ways we handle ourselves in "disagreeable moments." Do we listen and discuss? Or are we looking for a fight? To help us not lose any friends and look smart on the internet, I have come up with 3 ways to disagree without being disagreeable....
1. Everyone is entitled to their opinion
What!? I'm not the only one allowed to have an opinion? Excuse me, but who do you think you are? This is a dangerous and small minded outlook to have as without differing opinions, we would not have growth or education. You cannot get mad at someone for just having an opinion that is different from yours. What you can do is make sure that you have done your research on a subject and you are not just sharing Facebook articles blindly! When we discuss our opinions we should be respectful of the different walks of life we have all been on. Most times, someone's opinion is based on personal experiences; such as religious beliefs and on their upbringing. There are a lot of factors that can influence someone towards a particular way of thinking. It is important to be respectful of our differences, and to remember that we are all allowed to think differently. George S. Patton said it well when he stated, " If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody is not thinking."
2. Learn to communicate, communicate to learn.
When we decide to voice (or type) our differing opinions we should do so with an attitude of willingness to learn. Now, I'm not saying that we need to go into a discussion ready to have our outlooks changed, but we should be open minded enough to actually learn something. In order to do this we must approach the discussion in the right way... First we need to take a deep breath and think about our position, why do we have the stance we do? Is it purely emotional or is there research to back it up? We also need to remember to be polite in our approach. Coming in at full force with name calling and rude behavior will get you nowhere. If we become disagreeable it triggers the other person to do the same and once both parties are there, nothing is being gained, and essentially it is a useless conversation. Open your ears and actively listen to the other side, maybe you will learn something that you didn't know before and vice versa!
3. Agree to disagree
Sometimes we aren't very good at stating our opinions without becoming jerks. But it's OK. We are human. In some situations, you will reach a point where you simply have to say, "You know what, this isn't going anywhere and I value our friendship, so let's just agree to disagree." I wish that my "friends" who blocked me had respected me enough to take that approach. If someone is truly your friend they will be able to respect your difference in opinion and you should do the same. Real adults know how to disagree with grace and don't need to result to social media shaming and ending relationships over varying opinions.
It is inevitable that we are going to disagree with our friends, families, and significant others. We just need to learn how to disagree without becoming disagreeable. Learning to do this will help you become better educated to differing sides of an argument, and will also lead others towards respecting you and your views. The world has enough bullies, don't be one. Listen, learn, and love those around you. We are all just trying to survive this crazy world!