Respect and Disagreement: They Do Not Have to Be Mutually Exclusive

Many of my posts end with “respectful comments are welcome” because I would like people who read my blog to know that I would love to have a conversation about any of the topics I write about. Hey, you can even suggest a topic if you are so inclined. But the other day a person from my office found the blog and reacted to that line by saying “you just don’t want people to disagree with you.” Disagreeing and respect are not mutually exclusive.

The idea that one cannot disagree and still be respectful is a bit disconcerting to me. Therefore, I explained to the person what I mean by respectful comments is, I do not like people to post profanity or bullying statements on my page. However, if you disagree with something I have written, by all means share a point of view.

However, the deeper question raised by this conversation is; since when did it become disrespectful to disagree with someone? Is this a common thought process or is this just the point of view of the one person I was talking to?

I think of disagreeing with someone as a way to have a lively debate and share ideas.  However, one should not make it personal or put down other people and their ideas. It is one thing to say “I think you should not talk about money with kids because…” it is another thing to say “you are a total moron if you…”

When I debate with people I do not back down easily, especially on topics that I feel passionately about. There may come a time when the group has to agree to disagree, shake hands, and walk away still friends. One last point, it is good to listen to people who disagree with you because it is a chance to challenge your thought process and maybe learn something new.

I hope that this post will encourage readers to feel comfortable commenting on my topics, whether you agree with me or not.

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