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Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Dealing with different points of view

People say crazy shit to me all the time. When I say ‘crazy shit’ what I really mean is stuff I think sounds dumb. Stuff like:
‘God was looking out for you’
‘Mercury is in retrograde’
‘Abortions should be illegal’
‘Family Guy is rubbish’
‘Being gay is not natural’
‘Black people hurting white people is different from white people hurting black people’
‘Why should all the pressure be on the woman to get birth control?’

I could go through all these statements and explain why they annoy me and I probably have over the course of my blog posts. I have strong opinions, but I’m also a sensitive little fuck, and I’m aware that most people think their views are right and true. I find it hilariously hypocritical. Opinions are like arseholes; everyone’s got them. EVERYONE has strong opinions. I talk to people a lot and observe and psychoanalyse the fuck out of everyone. Of course I do; I’m a writer. Everyone thinks their views are right. Theists think atheists are naive idiots and vice versa.

So how do we deal with this? How do we get along if we disagree on everything from TV shows to politics? An obvious answer is only hang out with people that think like you, but that’s impossible. No matter how much you think you have in common with someone, they’ll be something you don’t see eye-to-eye on.

They key is diplomacy. Understanding both sides. That’s what being open-minded is about; listening. My dad is highly intelligent but he’s also super set in his ways, and it’s very difficult to get him to change his mind about stuff. (I think his age plays a part). So I don’t try.

When you know a person won’t change their mind on something, don’t try to get them to.

Don’t waste your breath trying to get them to see your side. If they think The Godfather is shit and that’s final, change the topic. Don’t try and convince them that it’s a great movie because your words will fall on deaf ears.

With every single person I know I talk to them in a certain way. I always edit how I say something. I know exactly what to say to wind people up and push their buttons. (Ask my brother; I spent most of our childhood winding him up). Likewise I know what to say to ‘suck up’ to people. If I’m with a feminist I won’t spout anti-feminist rhetoric or make certain jokes. When I’m in AA I bring up the fact that I’m an atheist but I don’t go on and on about the absurdity of believing God is looking out for you and not the other millions of people that died of alcoholism.

The only place I wear all my ‘hats’ is on this blog. People don’t have to read my blog, and if they think they’ll find something offensive they don’t gots to look at it. If you really wanted to understand me as a person you probably could from reading all my posts. I’ve always been good with words, particularly the written word, and I find writing stuff down helps a lot.

If we lived in a world where everyone was the same it would be super boring, but also wouldn’t make any sense. You’d have a bunch of people who could cook the food but knew fuck how to protect the tribe. Compromise and diplomacy are wonderful things when applied correctly. Believe me, most people don’t understand me, and it doesn’t take me long to suss out how a person works. Learning to deal with people is one of the most important things in life. It’s how we fucking survive.

7 comments:

  1. Very true. We are social animals, and if we can't get along, bad things happen. To us as individuals, and to us as a society. It means being able to get along with people whose views you despise, and even whom you despise personally.

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  2. I agree with pretty much everything except I have one question:

    Are you saying that we should try to adjust ourselves more to each other and never really question or challenge each other?

    I really like the saying "You can bring a horse to water, but you can't force it to drink." I have experienced this a lot in my life and personally, I think one of the most powerful things you can do for another person is to "bring them to the water" so that they at least have the choice to drink.

    I think our society is too passive and too accommodating to everyone's feelings and it's a big part of why we are losing logic to emotion and reason to fantasy etc. When people are always praised and never criticized, it does a lot more damage long-term than it does help short-term. I've seen this over and over again.

    So I just hope you don't mean this in a way to "never bring a horse to water if you think it won't drink" because sometimes you might be surprised and do a lot of positive change by doing so.

    This was true in my life. Part of why I got out of my negative surrounding and upbringing is because there were a couple of people here and there who were willing to be honest with me and tell me what I needed to hear, rather than what they thought I wanted to hear etc. Those little nuggets of truth went a long way to helping me find my way through all of the chaos around me. It's why I try to do the same for others and tell what I know and think, even if it's not always politically correct etc. (It's the best way to learn - honesty.)

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    Replies
    1. I think it depends on the person and the situation. If you're speaking to someone who you know won't change their mind whatever you say, then it's probably better to leave it alone. But if you're speaking to someone really open-minded, you have a better chance of offering them to drink the water.

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    2. How do you know (a) it won't plant a seed that will help them later in life or (b) that it absolutely won't or will change their mind?

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    3. I'm sure it will do either of those things, it's more about avoiding conflict, weighing up the situation and thinking about who you're talking to.

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    4. While patterns do exist more than most people would like to exist, this is actually one of those areas where I think it's worth it to take the chance that you might get an exception and not take anything for granted.

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    5. EDIT: more than most people would like to *admit* exist

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