Jameson Filston, Campus Carrier Arts & Living Editor
Lately I have found it hard to have a good discussion with others. Our society is moving full speed ahead toward acceptance, and that is a good thing, but with that has come this attitude that we don’t want to offend others no matter the circumstance. This is not true acceptance, but rather an agreement to ignore topics which make you uncomfortable.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that you should shove your opinions down everyone’s throat. However, if the opportunity for a calm and rational discussion comes up, you should take it.
If you are constantly holding back on how you feel about different topics, you are missing out on deeper, more fulfilling relationships with friends and loved ones. Knowing not only what someone believes, but why they believe it is part of a healthy relationship.
It is easy to quietly demonize other opinions when you haven’t talked to others about it, but if you sit down and have a discussion with someone who is on the other side of a certain issue you will find it much easier to understand why others believe what they do. When a volatile topic is discussed, I often find myself keeping silent when I have something to add to the conversation.
All too often, this is because I am afraid to voice my opinion due to what others may think of me. I am afraid to lose face by going against the grain, or against just one person that I respect.
If I really want to show respect to others, the best way to do it is by respecting that they have a position even if I oppose it. This means not only voicing an opinion in a respectful manner, but also listening to them as they give theirs with an open mind.
Any discussion where you are trying to “win” instead of understand is going to end badly. You should support your side, and even convince, but if you always try to put others opinions down you will lose respect and hurt relationships. Formal debates where someone wins have their place in a competition, not among friends.
When you are voicing differing opinions, do it in person. Whenever I have a disagreement over texts or social media, both sides turn to attacking other people and giving arguments not backed in fact. There is much to communication besides words, and having hard discussions in person is important if you want end on good terms and potentially ending the conversation having learned something.
Like anything in life, disagreements are a balance. You cannot be too rigid or too flexible when you are in disagreement. It is easy to let someone walk over you, and it is easy to tear people down. It is much harder to have a nuanced conversation that fits the person and the topic. In this case, the hard path will get you further and be much more rewarding.