I have a great group of friends. I’m very, very thankful for that. We can talk, laugh, and cry together.
Recently, an issue came up, and I discovered that I’m at odds with most of my friends. During a dinner discussion one evening with this particular group of friends, they asked me how I felt about this issue (and no, I’m not going to mention the specifics here). Well, instead of hemming and hawing and trying to deflect, because the discussion had already gone around the table, I chose to be honest with them. Although they are close friends, it was still difficult to open up because my opinion was different than nearly everyone else’s. I didn’t think I’d lose friends over this, but I also did not want to cause tension.
Guess what happened? Instead of tension, or even flippant remarks of how wrong I was, I received support and words of encouragement. Relief filled me.
I told my friends that I was glad for the open conversation, as it helped me learn more about the issue and to understand why my friends feel the way they do.
Holding a different point of view these days feels very strange, almost to the point of feeling isolated. You’re going against the norm, and like the cliché says, you’re swimming upstream.
That night of conversation makes me wish the world was more like this. Agreeing to disagree, respectfully, peacefully, and listening to all sides of the issue. When we listen to each other, we learn more. We learn about our friends, and while we all may not agree on everything, it does make a difference when you understand why they feel the way they do.
So, to my friends, I say thank you. Thank you for understanding, thank you for listening and respecting my point of view, as I respect yours.
Next time a friend expresses a view that’s different from your own, please listen to them. Try to understand why they hold that opinion, then have a quiet, respectful discussion. Who knows? You might find you have more common ground than you realize, and you might even learn something about each other, and yourself.