August 10th, 2020


how to disagree with people

birthday question from easter

How do you get along with people whose values are different than yours? How do you handle someone's racism or homophobia? How do you handle it with someone you barely know vs. an extended family member?

I really pride myself in getting along with people whose values are different than mine. It happens at work ALL THE TIME, and I'm still gainfully employed.

A few things I've decided are important...

People need to know it when I disagree with them. At work, it can be a simple "I disagree with you." And sometimes we need to get back to airplanes, so I don't have time to talk about it, but I'll overhear a conversation in the cubicles and can throw something out.

I do feel REALLY BAD that I did not do this a few weeks ago. some guys were chatting in the breakroom about "oh come on don't all lives matter!" and I thought about throwing out my "I disagree with you" but I lost courage. I'm a manager they're not, so it'd be more threatening. I'm not THEIR manager. Still thinking about that one. It's just proof I don't have all the answers.

I know a lot of coworkers consider me to be more moderate than I really am. That's because I try to find some common ground with everybody, some issue we agree on. But I've called people out too, when they said something really bad. So they know there's a line, and the better they get to know me the more they start realizing how far left of that line I truly am.

I also wrote earlier about my new facebook unfriending policy... I need to have said enough disagreement that when I unfriend somebody, it's not a mystery to them.

There's a lady now who I'm just keeping around to poke at. We got to be friends because we played pokemon together, but now I've learned through facebook that she's a trump supporter, anti-vaccines and thinks the pandemic is made up.

I'm being VERY casual in my disagreements with her, playing the naive one most of the time. Comments like, "You're one of those smart ladies in my life who loves games and technology, how can you think vaccines are some kind of huge conspiracy against us? I can't wait to get one, this covid crap is keeping us apart!"

I genuinely do believe that she and I have enough of the same values that we could be some kind of friends... we love getting people together, helping kids, playing pokemon (which has GOT to be way more conspiracy theory than vaccines, holy shit they're tracking our every move...) so if I just keep up with the polite proding when she posts stuff, maybe she'll come around.

I do the same thing with my grandpa. Just comment again and again and again that the things he posts aren't true. Is mail-in voting a huge fraud? "Oh gosh I've been mail-in voting for years, Kansas has a great system I didn't know it had gotten controversial? I promise I'm a legal US citizen grandpa! Remember, I was born in missouri?"

And my coworkers... they said every election there's a manufactured made-up pandemic that fake news blows up to stir things up. "Well gee bob, I was pregnant with Josie in 2010 when h1n1 was a HUGE deal, that wasn't an election year. I remember it was 2010 because she just turned ten!"

Oh, and I keep my comments very SHORT and surface-level, because I have a second rule:

I don't have time to argue with one person I like livejournal because I can get all my thoughts down, for me, the way I like to organize it, and a million people can read it if they want to. Arguing 1x1 with one person is not a good use of my time though, so I don't do it.

In person with family, sometimes I just have to say "I don't feel like talking about this, we're gonna have to disagree" then I walk away.

I have an A-B-C rule on the internet that we used on and I think it works great everywhere.

Let's say someone has a comment I disagree with (person A). I reply (person B). They reply. I will not reply again until there's a person C. It slows things down so I can think, and keeps me from burning energy that will only go to train that one person. They don't deserve my individual attention.

remember xkcd? let's prevents this: