Dialogue, Opinions and Respect – Oh My!

A few weeks ago I was involved in two separate events, both involving the sharing of opinions online. They couldn’t have been more dissimilar in terms of topic, both were seemingly benign on the outset, both grew heated, both left me still irked in the end. In the hopes of somewhat putting it all to bed, I’m penning what I hope are my final thoughts on the matters in general. I see I’ve already placed mental walls between myself and all involved, and I already know I won’t be getting into any similar type discussions with these people again because of how these turned out. It’s unfortunate. It’s life. It didn’t have to be this way, but in the words of the great Belichick, “it is what it is”.

Those who know me, know I can be a right chatterbox. I enjoy discussion and sharing ideas even if they are opposing viewpoints. Sometimes that’s the best way to learn and grow, by viewing things from a completely different perspective. That being said, for it to be a true discussion, all involved need to be open-minded and respectful to other viewpoints, otherwise you are simply preaching. Once any discussion reaches that point, I’m gone. How can I possibly continue to respect others and their viewpoints if the same is not extended towards me. Newsflash people, when it comes to sharing an opinion, not fact, you won’t be 100% right 100% of the time. Suggesting one way is the only “right” way is narrow-minded at best, and an unfortunate way to go through life; so much will be missed.

Know also, if things turn personal and malicious, I will call people on it. Cruelty has no place within healthy, fresh dialogue. Again I’ll question the need to defend a point so aggressively that someone would resort to cruelty and malice. Some will defend themselves saying that they are simply passionate about a cause. I’ll suggest that It is entirely possible to display passion for a viewpoint, without being a shitty human being in the process. In my opinion, there’s that opinion thing again, coddling and making excuses for crummy behavior only shows that you accept it, and it will only be repeated at the next opportunity.

Just think of how much nicer this world would be if we were respectful of others, kinder to others, more accepting of others who are different from us. Ok, maybe that’s going a bit too far because I can’t condone being a NY Jets fan…I digress.. Be nicer to others, respect others, be willing to listen to someone other than your own preaching (unless they’re a Jets fan). Treat others as you woukd like to be treated – it sounds so simple, yet seems increasingly rare. Embrace diversity, it’s so very healthy. When in doubt, just remember it’s true what they say about opinions and assholes, everyone’s got one and they all stink!

Don’t like what I’ve had to say? That’s totally cool. We can respectfully discuss it, I promise to listen to differing viewpoints, and I just may agree with you in the end. It doesn’t make either of us right or wrong, just different. Unless you’re a Jets fan… 😉

Cheers and be good to each other…

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