When someone makes a point, do you look for where you agree? Or, are you neutral; actively considering all sides? Or, do you default to disagreement?
A thought to consider: if you immediately look for points of disagreement and — even more so — if you feel compelled to voice that disagreement, there are two very important probable results to consider first:
- The chances of missing the actual point are far greater.
- You are going to lose potential or current friends, and your level (or potential level) of influence will decrease.
You might notice that last point is just the opposite of “Winning Friends and Influencing People.” And that’s no surprise.
I expect that those whose personal default setting is on “disagree and comment” are possibly thinking, “Bob, are you saying we should always agree with everyone?” My answer, of course, is “absolutely not!”
Another reflexive thought might be, “Bob, I’d rather people disagree with me so that I can learn from them rather than their simply mindlessly agreeing with me.”
So would I. And…mindless agreement isn’t at all what I am suggesting.
Opposing points of view are typically welcome by people. They help everyone learn and grow. However, I believe it is incumbent upon the responder to be sure they have first logically and critically thought through the issue.
While browsing posts on Facebook, Twitter, and other blogs, I far too often see readers’ comments that are so off point, I wonder:
- Did they actually read the post in its entirety? And,
- Are they just disagreeing for the sake of disagreeing?
Personally, I cannot even imagine commenting without first thinking about it long and hard. I realize not everyone feels the same way. However, I think it is a worthwhile guiding principle for those of us who comment on other’s posts.
May I make a suggestion: listen/read as neutrally as possible or, even better, for where you agree. If you simply don’t, first (oh, so important) FIRST reason out logically and dispassionately why, how and where you disagree. Then — and only then — decide if it will be productive for all involved to communicate your opposing view.
Wanna’ be right or want the right results? Sometimes both are possible and sometimes not.
One aspect of wisdom is knowing the difference.
Of course, you are welcome to disagree. 😉