...unless they are true friends.
It should be no surprise that people have differing opinions on a variety of topics. Even before human beings could speak, this was the case. It is just one of those inescapable facts of life: people will disagree with other people. It has been a catalyst for change in the world, regardless if it was for better or worse.
We like to believe that we evolved beyond the abilities of our primitive ancestors. Instead of grunting and acting out violently, we have this idea that we are able to respectfully articulate our thoughts in a clear and concise fashion. While this may have been the case at some point in our developing lives, I can't help but wonder if it still rings true.
Why can’t we be friends?
It seems more and more people, people who once called each other friends, are destroying their relationships. This is happening even in families. Why? Because person A didn’t agree with person B, and visa-versa? They are willing to let their difference of opinions dictate who they can and cannot be friends with, or if they should disown family members. Am I the only one that finds this absurd?
Why is there this belief that, in order to be friends or family, we have to agree on every single topic? Not only is that boring as hell, but it does us all a great injustice. Our ability to disagree and have actual debates about a topic is awesome. It challenges us to learn and grow. It gives us an opportunity to try and see a viewpoint from another’s eyes, while giving them the chance to see ours.
It builds empathy.
Perhaps that is what frightens people the most. If we find ourselves starting to empathize with the “enemy," then it will shake our very beliefs, right? Wrong. If your foundation is so easily shaken by understanding what another thinks and feels, then I would suggest your belief wasn’t very strong to begin with.
Of course, the alternative is just as real of a possibility. There are people who are so locked within their own little world that it leaves little to no room for anyone else's thoughts and/or ideas. These are the “you are either with me or against me” type of people, the kind that would rather resort to name calling and ridicule instead of having a healthy and open debate.
I know I won’t change the minds of quite a lot of you out there and, as you may already have guessed, I am okay with this. However, I also know there are going to be those of you who read this and realize that it is very possible to disagree with someone while maintaining a respectful relationship. That is the beauty of life, dear readers, enjoy it to the fullest.