When was the last time you had an open and honest conversation with someone? How did they react? Did you have a difference in opinion? Do you felt like they heard you when you spoke? Were they upset when you felt differently than them? Did they accuse you of judging them or tell you to never speak to them again? Halfway through the conversation, did they tell you that all you’re doing is arguing when you weren’t even aware that you were having an argument? Did you feel anything was accomplished or were you left feeling defeated and emotionally drained?
I’ve always felt that the best way to solve differences is to leave the line of communication opened but also be honest with your feelings without taking offense to how the other person is feeling. If I have a disagreement with someone, I want to be able to talk it out and I want to feel comfortable expressing to the other person exactly how I’m feeling without fear that they will think I’m judging them or being difficult – simply because I have a different opinion. Likeless, I won’t take offense to what the other person’s opinion is. Do you have a different opinion than me? Cool! That’s part of life and we are free to have as many opinions as we want.
The problem comes when the other person doesn’t understand how to communicate and takes offense to everything that is said. You’re often left feeling like you’re walking on eggshells. You try to understand the other person, you ask what you can do to help, you try to understand the situation. If you give an opinion that is different, obviously you are judging the other person and that is a reason to be cut out of their life.
I don’t do well with threats of any kind. I’ve cut people out of my life before and I couldn’t care less if someone cuts me out of theirs. I very firmly believes that God is in control and He lets people enter and exit our lives as needed. If someone feels the need to cut me out of their life, I see it as God’s Way of removing that person from my life. Why? I’m not always sure, but since I have faith in God, I trust Him. Perhaps that’s why that threat has always bothered me – either talk to me or don’t – I believe that God is ultimately in control.
But what about if I have a different opinion than you? Is that judgment? Should I lie to you when I feel differently simply to avoid hurting your feelings? You should never hurt someone’s feelings on purpose – that’s mean. But having a difference in opinion is normal, healthy even. It allows people to grow and understand. The problem arises when someone views a difference in opinion as a judgment and takes offense to it. Perhaps that is a battle we will always be fighting – figuring out how to communicate with people who view words spoke as an attack against them when you’re only stating your opinion.
However, there’s another part of communication. Sometimes, you need to be blunt. If I believe someone is being a brat, and then they are complaining to me, I will tell them how I feel – they are being a brat and need to knock it off because adults don’t act like that. It’s the same way my friends and family call me out when I’m acting like a brat – they give me their honest opinion of my actions and how I’m being perceived. What I do with that information is up to me. But the point is that someone cares enough to be blunt with me about the way I’m acting, the same way I care enough about other people to be blunt with them.
Perhaps communication is difficult for all people. Most arguments and disagreements could be solved if people were open to honest communication. The problem is, a lot of the time, people don’t want to communicate. They want people to be on their side and if they aren’t, they take offense. What happened to being able to communicate without fear that someone would take it the wrong way? What happened to have a healthy conversation and working out problems? What happened to communication?