Have you ever had an encounter with someone who just can’t see your point of view. At all. Not even a little. After a few short minutes it’s as if they don’t even hear what you are saying anymore. They’re too busy composing a refuting statement. No matter how much you try to concede to opposing comments while still attempting to open their mind to a different viewpoint you’re just steamrolled. Over and over and over. It’s frustrating to have someone just repeat the same thing to you again and again. I sometimes wonder if they are repeating things to convince me, or themselves that their opinion is the “correct” one.
I hate the feeling of being invalidated. That’s how it feels when you’re shut down so succinctly. It’s as if I’m being told (repeatedly) that what I say has no merit, no worth. Of course, that just makes me want to try even harder to make my point. I think what irks me most is that I usually try to offer my understanding or opinion without negating someone else’s, so when I’m met with someone stomping all over my opinion it becomes a justice issue for me.
I always hope that when I offer my differing opinion there will be some sort of “meeting in the middle.” I don’t expect someone to agree with me all the time. Nor do I expect to agree with someone else all the time. I do think there is a way to reach a mutual understanding and respect for opinions – even when they remain divergent. The argumentative stance with the unspoken “nope – you’re wrong!” woven through it sticks in my craw.
At some point, you weigh the value of the relationship with the individual against the passion for the topic being discussed and move on – with or without the relationship intact.
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