We Just Disagree

If you have ever been friends with someone who is your total opposite then you know a bit about how to “disagree without being disagreeable.” I have one person in my life who sees things very opposite from the way I do. Looking at things in a different way has taught me a lot about how to disagree and has opened me up to the concept that maybe we both are right. There does not have to be a winner all the time.

I have always tried to state my opinion on things in a polite manner, but Lori got me thinking about it yesterday over on her blog. She has a post about disagreeing and it got me to realize we don’t all think the same. That is not a bad thing. It is when we devolve into name-calling and insults that I tend to go away and never want to come back.

I have taken a very contrary to popular opinion stance on the “Twitter unfollow” experiments that many A-list bloggers are doing these days. I think the move is pure crap and that they could eliminate spammers and crap messages by using other Twitter apps designed to help you get rid of garbage.

This post is not about that. What this post is about is the herd mentality. As much as we say we are not sheep, when someone comes along with a different view than what the majority thinks, that person is very likely going to get their head handed to them.

Don’t believe me? Try it. Disagree with someone popular and see what happens. Some will discuss things with you in a calm manner, while others will call you stupid or insane.

When I was young, what I wanted or what I thought was of no consequence. My opinion was not only not welcome, it was not respected. Even if you don’t agree, if you look at an issue through someone else’s lens you may see things that you missed originally.

What about you? Can you handle disagreement? Or do you go on the attack?

12 thoughts on “We Just Disagree

  1. lori says:

    Hey Nancy,
    Nicely handled! You already know I agree with you that we should avoid herd mentality and express our opinion, when it’s important and when we feel strongly about it. I think our ability to handle it when someone disagrees with us is a mark of our confidence and high self-esteem.
    To be able to agree to disagree is, I think, a sign of maturity.

    • Hi Lori,

      It was your post yesterday that really got me thinking. The thing is, we can disagree with one another as long as we don’t resort to name calling. In that other post, you can see that I tried to state my opinion and knew the result would be bad. Oh well.

      I never thought about being able to disagree as a sign of maturity, but you are right. It is one.

      Thanks as always for the thoughtful comment!


  2. I always sit up and pay attention when someone disagrees. I see one of two things: either they see things from a different point of view and are offering it as a gift, or they are very closed-minded and don’t see that there are other possibilities.
    I think it’s much more constructive to ask questions when you find yourself on an opposite side of an issue. It’s important to me to find out why someone thinks the way that they do.
    I’ve had things explained to me after I’ve asked questions that have enlightened me and even changed my point of view and/or opinion about something.
    I’m out of the loop with what happened to you. But I’m sorry!

    • Asking questions is always the way to go. I love knowing how others think. It lets me see how they solve problems and sometimes like you said, the other person may change my mind.

      That all being said, there are some things that people may never agree on, and in that case we have to agree to disagree :)

  3. Herd mentality or “group think” is dangerous.. But it seems to be a necessary evil. One of the easiest ways to get someone to notice or like you is by agreeing with them, right?

    Turns out that’s not true but people still play it safe

    One of my favorite stories to share is how I met Dino Dogan.. Actually, I had been lurking about DIYblogger.net well before Triberr came around.. but it wasn’t until we disagreed on my blog that we got to really know each other and realize just how much we have in common.

    All too often we think we are doing others a service by encouraging them and blindly YESing away, yet the moments we debate with and challenge each other are when we grow most. There’s always a way to be civil about this. Judge actions and thoughts, not people.. Keep them from being defensive.

    It’s important to be constructive when we tackle things we disagree with.. And, really, it’d be a boring world if we all thought the same way.

    As for this mass unfollow stuff.. It’s a stunt and the sheep are buying into it. To be clear, however, Chris Brogan says that the main benefit of it was reconnecting with people and really seeing who his core audience was.. Those that unfollow right away likely do not sincerely care about us or what we have to share.. So I can see some merit in this social experiment, though it is being blown a bit out of proportion and people are learning the wrong lessons therein. ;o)

    • I agree that herd mentality is very dangerous. One of the best at civil disagreement is Danny Brown. He will tell you he does not agree, but never makes anyone feel bad for expressing who they are and what they think.

      As far as the “unfollow” goes, really I am more upset with Darren Rowse and Michael Hyatt. Hyatt in particular stated it was for a better AdAge rank and Klout score. I respect Chris. I met him in person and he was very nice to me. I am not crazy about him unfollowing, but at least his reasons made more sense to me.

      I learned early on commenting on blogs that “great post” and ‘wow, you are a genius” are a dime a dozen. I got the attention of a few people by disagreeing with them and everyone really keeping it polite and respectful. Not much learning can happen if we all think the same :)

  4. BTW, Nancy, since you’re a fellow WordPress.com user, let me know if you’d like to change your Twitter button so that it mentions you when you get shares. It makes it easier to send some gratitude out without having to do searches all the time. I’m here for ya. 8)

  5. You can still disagree without being a total A-hole and just use tact and common courtesy. Some people seem to be missing that, especially when the disagreement is with someone has gained some notoriety in this world or social.

  6. Stan Faryna says:

    Social media has come to be dominated by a “happy place” mode of thinking. Most believe a happy place is preferable to the troll wars of pre-Twitter and pre-Facebook days. Because a happy place facilitates connection. But does a facilitate engagement, community, and collaboration?

    In fact, a happy place does not facilitate engagement, community, and collaboration because it fuels insincerity, delusion, and counterfeit relationships. A happy place excludes disagreement and contention about the most important things. People can’t commit to each other because they can only agree to agree to the things that they will not question. Such agreements, obviously, are made on a receding shoreline of trivial interests, ignorance, and disloyalty.

    Disagreement without personal insult is preferable. But it is difficult to practice because there is no commitment to a resolution. In other words, agreeing to disagree gets us no where. If we are going to agree to disagree, then we must also agree to disagree with our commitment to negotiate the disagreement to a mutually satisfying conclusion. That is not a happy place. It is where love is.


    Recently on my blog: Do you ignore the road signs too? And other social media DOHs. http://wp.me/pbg0R-rq

    • Hi Stan,

      You make so many good points, but the one that stood out to me is “in fact, a happy place does not facilitate engagement, community, and collaboration because it fuels insincerity, delusion, and counterfeit relationships.” well said. There are certain blogs that if I do not agree I simply don’t comment. A different point of view is not welcome.

      On one of the blogs I read, I noticed that the “business people to follow” lists always have the same people on it. I mentioned that these are the people he always highlights and that did not go very well. I am certain other people feel the same but don’t say anything because they like being in the flock.

      Thank you for such a great comment Stan. You really articulated my fears about this “happy place”

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