It is inevitable that you are going to find yourself in situations where you just won't be on the same side as other people. It's just a part of life.
If we all agreed, that would make for an interesting situation, but try as you may, it just is not going to happen.
The problem becomes when we find ourselves in those situations where we disagree with others.
How do we handle it?
What do we say?
How should we express ourselves?
These are all very good questions.
The problem is that there is no one good way to handle these situations that works every time. In fact, the problem is just amplified and magnified when it is a situation where we care deeply about the outcome or the results. Sure, if we didn't care, it is easy to move on. But most of the time we do care.
Think about this:
If you're going to lunch with some friends and everyone wants a hamburger, what do you do? You decide which hamburger restaurant or fast food place to go to, then you come to a concensus, pick one, go there and enjoy that juicy hamburger, right?
Now let's change that up a bit. Say you want a salad because you're trying to drop a few of those pounds you've been gaining because of all those juicy hamburgers you have been eating. People start throwing around the names of hamburgers joints and you just want one that makes a decent salad as well. You pick one, you go there with your friends, then you chow down on that healthy salad while they have their choice of burgers. Not too much controversy there, right?
Let's take it one step further. Now you're going to lunch with your friends again and everyone wants a hamburger but you. You want a salad. But this time it isn't because you're trying to lose some weight, but rather you're a vegetarian. Now that's a different thing all together, isn't it?
How does that get worked out. There are few options here as well.
You could just go along to the hamburger restaurant and order your salad, and not pay attention to burgers being served. That could work.
Or you could go along and order your salad, and while the burgers are being served let your friends know why you're getting a salad, and suggest they do the same.
Or you could go along to the restaurant and make a scene when the burgers are ordered, explaining how eating meat, in your opinion, is not just wrong but disgusting and immoral.
Or, when the idea of eating hamburgers is brought up in the car, you could throw a fit, curse out your friends for participating in what you consider the murder and devouring of innocent animals. You could tell them how they all disgust you and how they should see things your way.
I guess that is an option.
There's a good chance, however, that no matter what you do in any of these scenarios, your friends are still going to go to a restaurant that serves some juicy hamburgers, with or without you, and that is exactly what they are going to order.
Think about this:
You may make an impression on them, but then again you may not. And if you do, is it really the type of impression that you want to make or be remembered for?
In most of these scenarios you are disagreeing with your friends. They want something and you want something else. That happens everyday, in everyone's life. The difference here is that your reasons for disagreeing change and how you express yourself changes as well, all depending upon how attached and strongly you feel about your particular position.
Diet versus vegetarian.
Explaining your position versus shoving it down their throats.
As a general rule it is a good idea, and very possible, to disagree with people without being disagreeable in the process, as this overly simplified example of lunch with your friends shows. Now don't get me wrong here. That is not to say that in some situations you may have no choice but to shove your position down other peoples throats – figuratively speaking. You may have to do that to get your point across or to convince them of the importance of your position or a situation when it is absolutely necessary.
But doing so should be the absolute last alternative that you jump to, not your first weapon of choice.
It is surprising how a calm, well thought out explanation for pretty much anything can go a long way to resolve a situation and enable you to keep your friends or at least their attention and respect. You can get much further, in most cases, than an abrasive, abusive stance will take you.
As the old saying goes, "You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar." That's true in most situations.
Choose your positions, choose your battles, choose your tactics and choose your words with care and caution, and you'll get much further in life. If you do so you will find that people will be more apt to listen to what you have to say, and they will like you, and if not like you at least respect you for it as well.
You can disagree without being disagreeable in the process, and still get your point across.
Think about it and let me know what you think!
The Humble Judge