Friday, February 02, 2018

Five Minute Friday: AGREE

Today I'm linking up with the Five Minute Friday community, writing for five minutes on a given prompt. This week's word is AGREE.



This week I disagreed with someone on Facebook. That is, I didn't just have a different opinion, but I stated it. The person who had put up the post expressing their opinion was someone I like and respect, and the post (which was about something important, not just something trivial like whether smooth or crunchy peanut butter is better) received many replies of affirmation from other people I like and respect. 

But I had a different view of  the issue, so I went against the tide and expressed that view. (I was the glass of Coke in the image above, coming up against all the lattes!)

Afterward I talked with a friend who is not involved in the situation, just about how challenging it can be to disagree publicly and do it in an appropriate way. She said in similar situations she asks herself questions like 

"What is my motivation in speaking up? Do I want to change others' minds?"

"Am I ready to do more than just say 'I disagree' and drop it -- do I want to get into this discussion at more length?" 

"Do I need to have the last word, or can I let it go?"

I thought these were wise questions. In the particular instance I'm referring to, I had additional thoughts that shaped my decision to speak: "Maybe someone else is reading this right now and holds a contrary view, but they're afraid to speak out. Maybe I can make that person feel encouraged or less alone. And really -- what do I have to lose?"

I don't find it easy to express disagreement with others, especially publicly. I dislike conflict, and I don't want to be disapproved of. But sometimes we need to have the courage to speak out our disagreement. We shouldn't demean or dehumanize others in the process, and we should constantly examine our own motives -- but we should remember that we are free to speak up honestly on things that matter to us, and give others the same freedom.

18 comments:

  1. Jeannie,
    I totally understand this. I don't like public arguments either. I would rather ignore what is said. But last night I listened to someone state the opposite side of a position - and you know I started to understand where they were coming from.
    So - I think in future I will try to listen more openly and not just think I'm right all the time.
    Thank the Lord that He is right and I can go to Him at any time and find out the course I need to take.
    Blessings
    janis
    #46

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    1. Thanks Janis - I appreciate your comment. I suppose the only thing harder than speaking up (if you're a person who finds confrontation hard) is listening -- really listening -- with an open heart and mind. It takes a lot of humility and wisdom. So that's a good lesson and reminder.

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  2. Well done for speaking up, Jeannie! It's not easy to go against the crowd but often when one person is willing to go first it gives others confidence to follow. Your friend's questions about our motivation in speaking up are wise.

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    1. I certainly appreciated them - and I appreciate your reading and commenting, Lesley. Thanks!

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  3. I'm not sure what the situation was. But proud of you for speaking up.

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    1. Thanks Tara. Just pick any controversial current issue and you will probably pretty much have it.

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  4. Thanks for sharing this Jeannie! I don’t often speak up but it sure does give me encouragement when someone voices what I feel. Avoiding conflict has always been my goal but know I am beginning to question what parts of me I’ve lost because of it. I admire your courage! Cindy Wilkins

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    1. Thank you, Cindy. I think we all need to decide for ourselves when to speak and when to be silent, and be wise about it.

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  5. Well, I had written a comment and my phone ate it.

    Anyway, this is a great post. I appreciate the questions you and your friend posed. I try to consider my mental/ emotional energy levels when I think about disagreeing with someone. The times I've tried to disagree-and-flee have only led to negative consequences for me. (That's one reason I'm not on Twitter much recently.)

    I admire your courage in speaking up. I don't know or need to know the issue, and even if we happened to disagree on it, I still admire your courage. Maybe it gave folks a new perspective that they hadn't previously considered.

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    1. I appreciate your thoughts, Laura, as always. The nature of social media doesn't make it easy to engage thoughtfully and in a positive way. Things can escalate so quickly. But I think we can all benefit from the differing perspectives of others.

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  6. You and your friend came up with wise criteria for deciding whether to weigh in or not. This past week I refrained form joining in on-line conversations a few times because I couldn't get a good read on the people involved. Would they respond in good will, would they feel I'm butting in, would I be able to remain level-headed, etc. I can't say that these questions always come to mind, though. Sometimes I jump right in and make a hash of it.

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    1. I know what you mean, Tim - and that point about "getting a read on the people involved" is important. Jayson Bradley has posted a few times about how frustrating it can be when someone comments negatively about something that's been posted - and a 3rd person chimes in to criticize the commenter, without realizing that maybe the commenter and the original poster have a real-life relationship and the 3rd-person intervention is hindering that. There can be a lot going on that we're just not aware of when we participate in a discussion online.

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  7. I totally agree with you here! Sometimes, it's best to keep silent, but at other times, it's very wise to voice our disagreement. I usually speak up when I know the person is open to hearing different voices (even if they won't change their views) and won't dehumanize me for them. When it's someone who is likely to dehumanize me for disagreeing, I don't see the point. Your FMF next-door neighbor at #44. :)

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    1. That's an important distinction, Astrid. There is no point inviting abuse! But if you sense there's a level of mutual respect there, it's easier to use our voices.

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  8. Great questions for thinking through when to speak up and when there is no need. It certainly takes wisdom....

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    1. Yes, that's for sure. Thanks for reading and commenting, Jennifer.

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  9. Those are helpful questions to consider. What is my motivation? I'm kind of shy about expressing disagreement, too. But sometimes you just see something you cannot be silent about. Expressing ourselves with grace and letting go of the need to have the last word is so hard, isn't it? Great post here, friend!

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    1. Thanks so much, Betsy. I always appreciate your thoughts (and you!).

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