by, 01-13-2012 at 03:35 PM (236 Views)
So thereís something that I have a really hard time understanding. Iíve run across some people who really have a problem with other people not holding the same opinions or values that they do. By this I mean it really bothers them whenever they hear someone (particularly someone they know, but not necessarily) simply make a statement they donít personally agree with. They canít just ignore it or move on, they canít accept and respect the person anyways. They canít just not think about that personís oppinion. They need to try to make the other person see things their way, or they find it really hard to hang out with them because that disagreement just nags them in their brain or something, so usually they end up Ďcutting them out of their lifeí essentially, or writing them off as discredited overall. Iíve known a few people who are like this and it really baffles me.
I can understand if the topic you disagree on creates practical issues between you on a daily basis, causing you to be unable to interact in any capacity without it turning into an argument. I can understand if itís a value that influences the way they treat you, causing you to feel unsafe with them. But MOST disagreements are really not that serious or far reaching. Even deeply held values often donít affect everyday interactions all that much. Often itís mindless habits which are more consistantly difficult to live with than peopleís ideas about deep abstract concepts about the meaning of life or whatever. So I just donít understand how or why some people are so bothered by different opinions that they feel the need to reject an entire person over it, not just the idea itself. I know this sounds rather judgemental, but what Iím trying to say is that I would like to try to understand from their perspective.
An example which brought this to mind at the moment is someone I know who has a problem with people being vegitarians. I canít say he goes so far as to never associate with any vegitarians, but he seems to have this strange thing where he really keeps people at a distance if they donít eat meat. What in the World is that about? I mean who cares if they donít eat meat, itís not like theyíre making him give it up. Maybe don't go to out lunch with them, but I donít see how it affects his interaction with them so much that there is no way he could be good friends with them. It just baffles me. Thatís just one example. Iíve also seen friends do the same thing over other random topics, like people who arenít fans of the something they like, or people who analyse literature differently than they do, etc. I have one friend who gets frantically upset every time she reads any article or review in which someone expresses a different opinion than her own. Itíll bother her all day, sheíll boycott everything written by that person from then on. And I just sit back thinking ďuhÖÖ..thatís life sweetheart, most people in the world disagree with you on most things, but how does that matter if youíre never even going to have an actual conversation with them? And how does their opinion on one thing invalidate everything they think about everything else?Ē Itís like the very fact of another opinion existing feels like a judgement on themselves and puts them on the defensive. I feel like this has something to do with accepting other people as separate entities from yourself, allowing them the right to be what they are, and being okay with being what you are without a need to make everyone the same. I think perhaps to some extent it has to do with personality type, though Iím not exactly sure how. I want to say itís a P/J difference, but maybe not. Or perhaps Fe vs. Fi? I dunno, what do you think?
For me I guess I just see each topic as separate from a person on the whole, so Iím comfortable disagreeing with them on certain things while still respecting them overall. And I donít really mind if someone disagrees with me, I donít see it as something to get upset about -itís their opinion and I donít have to share it. I get upset if they try to make me agree with them or if they treat me with scorn because of it, but as long as they respect me then I donít see it as any kind of problem. It might be disappointing that we canít share that cushy sense of identification in that one area, but itís to be expected that Iím not going to have that all the time with every person. Iím perfectly okay with just avoiding certain topics with certain people so we donít have to keep rehashing the same differences of oppinion. I mean, sure the more I have in common with someone the more easily we can hang out. Itís only natural to spend more time with people you agree with on more things. But to consciously cut someone out because of certain disagreements you have which donít affect the entire range of possible interactions with them seems like throwing the baby out with the bathwater to me. A personal example is that on the one hand I find it disturbing that anyone actually likes to watch horror films because to me it is filling your brain with cruelty and darkness and trauma that doesnít need to be there which adds to the overall ballance of negative thoughts in you and in the world, and which could potentially fuel oneís expectations of others or even ones own actions (if sufficiently pushed) which you wouldnít have even thought about if youíd never seen it. BUT I donít dissociate with people I know who happen to like horror films, I just donít watch those movies with them and I let them know Iíd rather them not talk about that when Iím around. It may be something close to a strongly held value for myself, but I allow others to have a differing opinion and it doesnít prevent me from enjoying their company, and trusting their taste, in other settings. I don't write them off as immoral or mentally unsound, not even in my own head. I just accept that it's something I don't understand and allow for the possibility that it doesn't affect them the way I would immagine it to.
I was thinking of posting this as a question in a new thread, but then my explaination got rather long and I figured it sounded a bit too rant-like as well, so I guess I'll make it a blog-post and hope I get a few responces.