Learn to Respectfully Disagree

According to Worldometers, the world population is currently 7.6 billion and counting. There are seven continents and the continent with the least countries has 12 in it. In each country, are different states, cities, towns, or counties. Every unit of society is made up of people and with so much diversity, even in the smallest unit of society, it’s safe to conclude that people are different.

We all have different backgrounds, upbringings, experiences, and environments. All these contribute to what shapes our views, opinions, and ideals and that makes our perspective and views, even about the same topic, very polar. That’s the beauty in diversity.

What’s not beautiful though are the hard feelings, outbursts, clapbacks and disagreements that come along with us expressing our very different opinions. Social media has especially made it increasingly easy to see and interact with opinions that are different from ours. When you hear, see, or discuss, as the case may be, an opinion with someone else or a group of people, it most times goes against what you have held on to be true almost all your life. And a natural way to deal with that is to reject the idea before you even process it. However, that shouldn’t be the case.

Meeting people with different opinions as you should be an expectation because it challenges you. If everything around you – your friends, family, social media circle, school/classmates, colleagues at work – is the same, there’s nothing that challenges you so you become dormant. When you come across a view, that’s largely against and even questions yours, you’re opened to some of the things you didn’t know about your side of the issue, you learn more so you can comprehensively argue more. You also learn more about the other person’s side and you grow, not only in knowledge but in mature social interaction. It helps you take criticism well which is a good life skill to possess.

Don’t be quick to reject other people’s views, everyone is entitled to one.

With that being said, I want to briefly talk about trigger topics. Trigger topics are topics that create negative emotional responses in certain people. Topics like this include sexual assault or molestation, domestic abuse, suicide, racism or sexism.

If you have experienced one or more of these things, harmless conversations or issues raised about any of these topics or related can bring up and trigger ugly memories. At that point, it may not be healthy for you to respond or even try to interact with people on topics that are peculiar to your experiences. Instead, seek professional help to deal with those feelings so a day hurts less than the previous.

It’s not to say that you can’t have healthy conversations about these topics, just make sure you’re mentally and emotionally healthy and stable to do so.

In order to respectfully disagree with an opinion, listening is key. It’s important to really listen, or thoroughly read, as the case may be, the basis and explanation of their views so as to understand where they’re coming from, how to respond and disagree, if you do. Don’t be quick to throw their opinion in the trash once you hear the topic sentence. Really listen to understand.

It’s okay to frankly and respectfully tell a person that you don’t agree with what they said or posted and go on to explain why. It’s a mature and responsible thing to do. Don’t make the goal of a discussion of differing opinions be that of conversion to yours. It’s imposing your values on them which isn’t right. Don’t let anyone do that to you too. Instead, let the point of the discussion be plainly to express yourself and engage in a meaningful conversation, despite the difference in opinions. It is left to the other person if they find your argument more compelling and subscribe or still be against it.

Learn that, in life, some people honestly don’t know. They have no idea. When they express their opinions that might seem like “how can someone think like this?” or plain wrong, don’t be quick to label them a certain kind of negative way. Instead, try to explain how their opinions or words might not have been the best or maybe you just don’t agree with them. Like explained earlier, we all have different experiences and backgrounds and they shape what ideals we hold dear. Also, don’t expect to give one beautiful pep-talk about your side of the argument and expect them to instantly change or subscribe to it. People don’t change that easily. 

I know someone who’d say that truth is single and there can only be one truth. Let that be the goal of any argumentative discussion you get into.

It’s not to prove who’s better or whose opinion weighs more, it’s to learn and glean from each other.

In this world of political correctness, where every human is entitled to their own truth, it’s important to filter what to disagree with and what to completely ignore if possible. Some angles of opinions and views tend to become borderline untrue and toxic and that could rub off on you, if care isn’t taken, so be careful what you listen to and get involved in.

From today, make it a conscious effort to respectfully disagree; be wise about it.

Do leave a comment below and don’t forget to subscribe to this blog to not miss a post. 


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