I had a very short career on my Condo Board. But it was a Ph.D. education in how people handle other people who think differently than they do.
During the short time I have lived in that Condo there were serious rifts about handling some repair issues, parking spaces, and the annual budget. When I felt an issue was important to my property value or quality of life, I would strongly argue my case.
I noticed an interesting scenario happening…
Sometimes when I was on the other side of an issue from someone, they didn’t like me anymore. People who had been friendly neighbors, suddenly looked the other way in the parking lot. Or looked down in the elevator.
Since I had always liked them before, I still liked them then. So I would cheerfully say hello and greet them whenever I saw them. But it was different for a few of them. Because I didn’t agree with them on the assessment, the repairs, or some other issue, I was now the enemy. I saw a similar response from a guy on the Board of my softball association.
Does the way you treat people change because they have a different opinion on an issue than you? Can you disagree on something with someone and still be friends? Or does the fact that someone has a different religious or political belief system from you cause you to judge them, distrust them or stop liking them?
I find that very sad. I do realize that when emotions are involved, people have pretty strong reactions. But I would hope that I wouldn't not like someone just because they had a different thought than me. Generally I just their opinion roll off and try to not become emotionally involved.
Yes, I sometimes hate people with different views than mine. And, I ALSO JUDGE THEM. Then I feel bad about it, and try to find something I like about them. One of my most memorable loves, was a Republican, Ugh.... And I can never seem to stay mad at you.
I think that people tend to use the relationships as a tool to get what they want.
Being a person of very strong feelings, I have learned that I can only state my side of the equation in as clear terms as possible, making sure that the opposition knows that I believe we are on the same team and then let the chips fall where they may. Disagreeing does not change my opinion of the person nor my wish to be their friend.
I am able to talk to others who have different views than me.
However, dealing with people who believe it is their right to force their views on you is very hard.
This has all to do with personal space. Whenever you feel resistance, it is in 90% of the cases because the feel you encroach on their personal space and the want to take their space back. So look at the words you have used and you most likely will find that you have used words like must (an extremly strong one) or similar ones. I you try to use words that leave their personal space intact, you will see a totally different reaction.
For example: If you say "must" they will react very strongly; if you use a sentence like "I see your point of view and I accept that although I don't agree with you" you respect them (their personal space) and you are likely to get a reaction like "Okay, but why don't you agree with me" and you are moving towards a solution. Remember, EVERYBODY is ALWAYS right....from the point of view.
That's a good way to do it.
But, there are some people who always want everyone to be the way they wish them to be, and do what they want them to do, rather than encouraging people to be who they are.
And that is only a problem if you make it YOUR problem. You can also opt to ignore them. Not always easy but you are in control of your life and yours only (if at all).
I too have found that randy and I was probably like that at one stage of my life.
Thank goodness for finding people like you and doing personal development means I can have conversations with people who think differently and not have it affect my demeaner.
There is something that has me treat people differently when we don't agree on a subject, and that's when they become vicious, nasty and/or belittle me, personally attacking me for having a different viewpoint. If on the other hand they're polite and friendly at the time as well as afterwards, I really don't have a problem with it. Sometimes it might mean that I don't want to spend as much time with them as before, but that would be due perhaps to me noticing a bad attitude that I hadn't noticed before.
When people have different opinions is often when you see a side of others that you didn't know they had!
I'd like to think I don't judge and do fully allow people their own opinions but I think it's very difficult for most of us as we do it unconsciously.
Randy, again I have similar experience...
My philosophy is live and let live the others... It was hard... These inside true, helped me shaping and create my personality... I believe, that we can love everybody... Yes, it is hard to let go people, because, both sides feel, that the way of experiences goes different directions... But they are still in my heart... I love the people who I have met, even if their opinion was different..
Uppps, maybe it's time to release them from my heart ...
Oh, it happens all the time. I guess we are all wired up differently so opinions can come into collision. I have no control over the other party's reaction but I will not be impolite but may at best be not so warm at least for a short while. Like our pastor, my daily prayer should be for a softer heart and a thicker skin.
Hi Randy..I've been on boards and committees for various things....and made a conscious decision not to get myself voted on to anymore...mainly because I find most of the time I have different views.When I was on a committe for my choral society..I met with quite a lot of hostility when I suggested that we do something completely different for our next season...Because my suggestion wasnt in line with 'the old school of thought' my opinion was rejected out of hand and during the tea breaks most of the old school crowd were huddled together excluding myself and one or two others. We were told that decision making was no longer a matter for the committe but for a select committee...Its laughable really....we were supposed to be singing to enjoy ourselves and entertain others...I kept going but the reception was cool.
I wouldnt stop talking to people who had different opinions to myself only if I felt that this person was no longer the person I thought they were and that they were being manipulative in their thinking...
Quite an interesting topic Randy...lots of scope for more thinking....:))
In "The Four Agreements," agreement two: Don't take anything personally.
Ruiz does a great job ion this book explaining why one shouldn't take anything personally.
Conflicting beliefs huh? Keep on being friendly as you suggest.
I would like to take this a step out of the box. What about conflicting beliefs within one self? It's not up to a man, etc. to supply my needs. (as far as marriage/partner) He should have something though. Conflicting belief -society, church, friends,peers. Nice girls (spiritual, etc.) don't ask for money, the sale,etc. Dependent on someone else for it (man, etc.) How I will I be independent? If I have money, I won't be spiritual and definitely Alone. Look at Oprah, Martha Stewart, JK Rowlings. If my business succeeds I'll be successful. OMG! How or what is the best way to handle these conflicting, confusing beliefs. Thank you.
It´s interesting that you step into that field again! 🙂
....so it´s returning to you - tell ya again:
I can state that people who are able to separate things in their brain are able to separate different opinions from themself and with others.
Only that enables them to keep on treating people as they always did.
But - that´s just a minority of people!
You really have to live very conscious and very controlled to undergo this process and acting fully "ADULT" like, which is what I use to call it...
yYou are far ahead from others with your thought-process, Randy.
Don´t expect them to be close to you or your past challenges. Many aren´t.
A different opinion maybe really destroys their comfort-zone.
So keep on greeting them! Persistence wins.
Great discussion here Randy..and appropriate for this time of the year as well.
There's a VAST difference between reacting and responding. As a graduate of the Covey Leadership, EST Training and Landmark Education courses, they all point this out. People that are reactive tend to argue a point rather than take it into consideration. In other words they RE-ACT what was just stated but they use their own interpretation.
On the other hand people that RESPOND usually listen and DO take into consideration what's been said and then share their ideas without any adversarial emotions.
I recently had an interaction with my sister who is very reactive. The essence of the discussion was that its rarely if EVER a good idea to imply 'rules' around how things should be said, done, etc. to someone else. In fact there are NO rules in Life, only beliefs we have adopted.
When we say "you should do this, that or the other thing", you distance yourself from the other person since you're not taking into consideration they may have different beliefs or behaviors than you do. This can also be construed as a 'guilt trip' in certain instances.
I believe that when someone is willing to share their beliefs about you, it's a sign they care about, and love who you are. Unfortunately, many people insist on debating and needing to be right. And those that need to be right all the time are obviously resisting.
What you resist, persists.
I used to either try to fit in or try to make everybody agree often sacrificing myself in the proces.
"But fitting in with what?"
That's a sentence from one of your blogs I read often as I have it on my fridge: your blog August 20th 2009: Your Unique Power to be You!
Sincerely i think disagreement is an attitude. I'm not sure I ever came across anybody who had a static attitude toward me. The attitudes I've met in others who was the hardest to move - I always was the source of holding them tight in being that way toward me. I had a pay off: some satisfaction in holding them fist-bound with words. But of course the cost was the the disconnect.
Love and Respect - Pierre Leyssac, cph
If someone doesn't like you anymore because you disagree with them over something would that be because you unintentionally and inadvertantly made them feel inferior, that you possibly made them question whether their belief was right?
And we know most people tenaciously hold onto their beliefs, even religiously, as their beliefs define them. To change a belief could lead to a change in them and most people prefer to stay just as they are...
When sharing different opinions, you should state your path clearly and then explore others' paths. When your paths collide and the others tend to be more reactive, take a step back and avoid sell-out. Notice when a conversation turns crucial, step out of content, rebuild safety through mutual purpose and respect, then step back in. Ask to get things rolling, mirror to confirm feelings, and prime if you're getting nowhere.
I haven't read any of the earlier comments...
I was raised in politics and banking so I know what a difference of opinion looks like... It is not a personal debacle.
It is a difference of opinion simple as that.
I have a new ultra liberal, the government is my daddy friend. He is a good hearted guy but is beyond ignorant!!
I like him. He's fun... But I would not let him near my children to raise.
Politics is not a personal attack. It is a differends in policy beliefs... Now don't get me started on muslims and Christians. That a a totally different argument.
Sometimes we don't accept our reflection in the mirror
I like to "agree to disagree" when we can't agree and leave it at that, and find common ground else where with the person.
A valuable life lesson I learned which has stood me in good stead is to not allow other people's negative behaviour to dictate how I behave, and to carry on behaving as I would if they were not behaving badly. It is a form of harm minimisation and also keeps the pool of "yuk" in the world from rising!
Everybody is entitled to his own *mthrfkng* opinion but it's an individuals prerogative to seeth thro the bullcrap. Polite bad attitude ooyaaah what tha fuck?
It can divide people for sure, especially when both people think they are right and therefore, the other wrong. It's now both of their jobs to change the other ones "ignorance" into enlightenment, like they have.
Randy, your situation is one I meet daily -- living as an enthusiastic liberal peacenik in a very conservative part of the country. I find that many people are even uncomfortable with opposing views being discussed in normal conversation, as if we should avoid knowing we differ from one another. It can be frustrating for those of us who love the play of ideas -- and a reminder of how conflicts get started. The other comments to this post ring true about being gentle. The other day someone introduced me as "This is Anne. She's a liberal...but you are going to like her." 🙂
I believe we can grow to the place where we agree to disagree.
Randy... You present a great illustration of one of the unfortunate-but-common human traits: us versus them mentality. Unfortunately, many people do not know how or where to draw the line on debating and debasing. On some level, we are all connected. The key is to use the connection to GROW the respective relationship - and THROW the relationship under the bus of fuss! The biggest key is a simple choice: to move forward for the betterment of everyone, all we need to do is to CHOOSE to fore-give an apology. It works! It really, really works! JHC
I don't think this is a simple topic.
There is reaction, emotion, involved, this does not nescessarily have a lot to do with the present conflict.
I once noticed during a discussion between 12 people sitting round a table, that some enjoyed the disagreement, others expressed that their feelings had been hurt. They all heard the same words, but percepted differently. Either you react, or you proact. Seems to be an unconscious choice, sort of a mental habit. No doubt, the easiest thing to do is to let emotions take over. Maybe it's sometimes better to take a step back and consider the importance, before insisting. Anyway, try to keep calm and distinguish between person and belief/behaviour.
I don't mind conflicts. 🙂
words make representations of a person, generally we take it this way, probably thats why difference in opinion effects relationship, but the question is, do really WORDS represent a person, or we should see a person by heart, not by words!! If th ats so, maybe then difference of openions wont take effect anymore, neighter good or bad!
Randy...The truth is yes...normally we feel like the people think different than us are like enemies, instead that they enrich the dialogue...sometimes this kind of post make people think how we need to handle some daily situations that can help how we talk, think about other people.Hope everything is ok with that neighbor...LOL
I have experienced the same type of issue when involved with fair boards and horse show committees. I never could wrap my mind around how a 'best friend' became the 'worst enemy' when I had a different idea.
Now, many years later I have had an insight into this and wish to share my perspective.
I believe the reason this happens is because we are conditioned to live in victimhood. The person with the opposing viewpoint becomes your persecutor and you the victim. Now you can find a whole host of other rescuers to take your side and validate your victimhood.
In my view, if any of societies control factors slipped a little we would find out that we don't really need them. It is this illusion that stays in place creating a universal belief that we are powerless, or victims.
In Central America I learned that if something should be done, ie a dump for a village, and no one that should is doing it, just start. When it starts happening from the people themselves it suddenly has government support. Why? Because the people 'in charge' don't want anyone to know we don't need them.
This I think is the underlying cause of the hostile reaction from people with a different opinion. There is a need to be validated, to be right, because we are all too afraid to admit how little we actually do know. Fear is the final answer because without fear of something you couldn't be a victim.
The funny thing is as soon as we can realize that we don't know what we don't know it doesn't matter! We are no longer attached to the need to be right because we have gotten to a place of higher understanding. We have no fear of being wrong because we are no longer victims.
Just my two cents worth. Thanks for the chance to discuss this with others!