Friday, July 22, 2011

A Difference of Opinion

How do you handle it when you have a difference of opinion from someone else?

There are times I think I handle it well.  I have a good friend with whom I frequently disagree, especially about politics.  Sometimes people come to our book club just to watch the heated discussion they know my friend and I will be having.  We argue and debate.  We get passionate.  But in the end we are still friends and we are able to let things go.  I believe it's because we approach our discussion with mutual respect.  The fact that we disagree doesn't mean we think the other person is stupid.  We don't call each other names.  We don't bring in irrelevant events to try to prove the other person is lacking in intelligence and so their argument can't be valid.  I believe I have a healthy dialogue with this woman.  We are friends who work well together in our church callings.  We choose to get together for game nights.  Despite our political differences, we remain friends.

Maybe my friend deserves more of the credit here than I do.

Because there are other people I don't argue with as respectfully.  There are some people who choose to attack when they disagree.  Sometimes I can remain in control and be polite in these disagreements.  Sometimes I lose it.  Sometimes I get right down in the mud with that person.  Even if I win the argument, I come away feeling dirty.

This is how I feel about my last post.  I responded to a post by a fellow blogger.  And I did so badly.  Something she said struck a nerve.  I did not intend to be unkind in my response, but I was.  I had a juvenile moment and attacked.  Not my shining moment.

I disagree with her point of view.  I believe women should be told they are of worth no matter how they look.  I believe women should be told they are wonderful even if they choose to spend the whole day in their pajamas.  I believe we should do all we can to build women up.  I believe we should strengthen each other and back up a woman's right to choose her own path.  I want women to feel the freedom to be whoever they want to be, regardless of society's dictates.  And that includes my fellow blogger.

Because I fought back in an immature way, my message was lost.  And I did not offer this woman the same support I was arguing for.  Sometimes I get so frustrated by women thinking they have to be what society tells them to be that I forget some women actually choose that route because it's right for them.

This woman has made choices in her life because she felt they were right for her.  More power to her.  I believe all women should be able to choose for themselves and with far less judgment.

I apologize for letting my emotions overtake my manners.  I apologize for being unkind.  I apologize for not arguing her right to choose for herself because I didn't agree with her choice.


Linda said...

Well said!

Bre And Drew said...

I'm glad you brought it up to her attention and her readers. I think she was being incredibly shallow. It doesn't matter what someone is struggling with, (mother, student, etc...)we all struggle and you can't tell what a person is like by looking at what they're wearing. How does she know that when she sees someone in the grocery store in their pajamas that it's not the first time they've ever done that? How does she know whether or not they are doing it because they like it or because they have little self worth? AND if it is because they have a low self esteem, it is because of judgemental people like her. I know I would have a lot fewer pajama days if people would just smile and accept me (no matter what I'm wearing) rather than judge.

MaggieJo said...

Way to go Robin! I'm a stubborn butthead, got it from my dad. Chad's helping. I have a long way to go when it comes to Twilight. How anyone can like those books is beyond me!

Bonnie said...

Nicely handled. There is something insidious about the virtual world that makes people faceless and the brawl worse than a mob. While I found her response over the top, as you say, to each her own. My Midwestern training would never have allowed me to unleash that kind of vitriol on someone else's page, and "hits" would not have been nearly enough to compensate for the icky feeling of a catfight, so I'd rather just walk away. Whatever. So glad to write very firmly off the beaten path, "sos I don get beaten."

I have been sensitized to opinionizing because I have a friend who is offended when our views differ, as if I'm somehow saying there is something wrong with her reasoning processes that I feel differently. With no shortage of personal opinions, I find myself sharing them less widely because of that. It's been good for me, because I've found a little sense of superiority in many of them that doesn't belong in my soul.

Libby said...

You know Miss Robin I think we all step up on our soap boxes from time to time - I know I do. You are a bigger person than most for writing this post. I'm fairly comfortable knowing when to agree to disagree - after all I know you don't agree with my when it comes to Jane Austen!

Leah said...

Very nice! I sometimes air on the side of conflict avoidance and don't find it's worth saying something. But I don't think that's the best approach each time either. I need to work up more courage to say what I really think. Good for you!

Day said...

I love this post. You're so classy; I adore you. :)

Saretta said...

Good job on this post. No need to create more stress or misunderstanding on-line or off. People see things differently and I say live and let live!

OneMommy said...

It is hard to apologize sometimes - kuddos to you for doing so. I agree, we need to work together to build each other up, not judge just b/c someone isn't wearing the "coolest" clothes or isn't wearing makeup when she runs to the store.

WhisperingWriter said...

Great post.

If someone has a different opinion than me I just accept that not everyone is going to think the same as I do. Sometimes my feelings get hurt though.

Caren with a "C" said...

Hey Robin, I came in on the end of this and didn't read the other post. None of us are perfect. I know I need to be reminded of that a lot. I tend to be very judgemental and am trying not to be. I don't have a problem so much with politics as I've had many a friend of the opposite opinion and I can let it roll off my shoulder and agree to disagree. My problem comes in with 'parenting'. I tend to get pretty hot headed on those issues. Good job on smoothing things over and explaining your reasoning. We all get passionate at times.

Stephi said...

I swear I must have ran into this woman when I lived in London, when my friend and I went to the corner store in our p.j's. We got told off by some really fancy- dressed lady who generally looked miserable with life.
Honestly you came out as the better one on this. You did a good job on explaining yourself, whereas the other lady (and some of her followers) were left looking bitchy and arrogant.
I personally see nothing wrong with making a quick dash to the shops in your bedroom attire. I think generally her post was just meant to be fun and humorous as you said. But I know this from personal experience:If there is one thing that irrtates Americans about Britain is their sarcasm. Their sacrcasm is not meant to hurt it is meant to make people laugh. Americans don't get this, which is understandable I guess. I got into trouble many times when I lived in America because of my sarcasm.