I Wanted to Get Up & Walk Out – Can we respectfully agree to disagree?
Have you ever known someone who couldn’t agree to disagree? I was having lunch with a new friend. We were having a great conversation about our similar values and goals. Then she brought up something politically related. I made the comment that I didn’t like to talk politics. I find it can create tension, and sometimes people get so emotionally carried away that they can say hurtful things.
But my new friend wouldn’t let it drop, even after I asked if we could change the subject. She was upset that I wasn’t as passionate as her about this particular topic. I could tell that her strong feelings were triggering her cortisol, making her even more determined to convince me. However, I felt attacked and knew that her ranting was hurting our friendship.
I know I can easily become defensive and angry when someone has a different opinion than me. I’ve learned that this is a natural response. Our strong survival instinct warns us that anyone who disagrees with us may be a danger. I’ve also learned that we have the power to override this instinct and respect other people’s beliefs and opinions, even when we don’t share their passion or when we disagree. I’m far from perfect at this, but I’m working on it.
Have you ever noticed that even in some of your best relationships, you can find something you have different opinions about? Does this mean you can’t honor these differences and still be friends? It’s certainly a much nicer and closer relationship when both sides can offer this respect. Here’s a version of one of my favorite quotes (author unknown)
Just because I’m right, doesn’t mean you’re wrong.
To be clear, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t voice our opinions if they differ from someone else’s. It’s important to stand up for what we believe in, and some people really enjoy debates. The key is to not lose our civility and respect for the other person. And if they ask us to drop the subject, we should honor their request.
Have you ever become upset with someone about your differences in opinion? Next time try to honor their belief even though you disagree.