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In Agreement

You know that whole “agree to disagree” motto?   I can’t do it.  I don’t like it when people disagree with me.  So much so that I have considered “unfollowing” anyone on FB who expresses an opinion different from my own.  But then I wouldn’t have any friends and there would be no one left to read my blog.
 
People say that if we all shared the same views on everything, life would be boring.  I don’t believe that.  I work at a school where many students come here because they want to be around people just like themselves, and they seem pretty happy about it.
 
It’s like when people say that living in paradise would be boring after awhile.  Unless you’ve actually lived in paradise, you don’t know how you would feel.  There’s lots of research that demonstrates that we are terrible predictors of how we will think, feel, and act in the future.  Check out Stumbling on Happiness if you don’t believe me.
 
Nevertheless, I realize that my attitude is hypocritical.  One of my areas of expertise is diversity, which is about accepting differences.  And I’m pretty good at that in most areas–ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation.  But not politics.  And I feel completely justified in rooting against Virginia Tech every chance I get.  And if someone doesn’t like Roger Federer, I never forget it.
 
In my defense, part of the reason I don’t like disagreeing is that for me, it’s more important to feel connected to other people than it is to point out our differences.  If I go shopping with a friend and they want my opinion on an outfit, I would never say something like “that makes your butt look big.”  If they like the outfit, who am I to tell them not to get it?
 
But I like to be honest.  So instead of giving my opinion, I would ask them a bunch of questions.  How much do you want to spend?  When would you wear it?  Do you have anything in your wardrobe that goes with it?  Then they can decide for themselves if they think it’s worth buying.
 
Even though I don’t like disagreeing, I am not one to shy away from conflict.  My parents tell me that I should have been a lawyer because I like to argue.  I’m sure my previous romantic partners would agree.  In an argument, because I have an excellent memory and high empathy, I would use what they said–and what they felt but didn’t say–against them.
 
Now that I think about it, maybe I’m not that greeable.  In fact, I’ve been making arguments in this post on agreement.  But that’s OK.  We like to think of things as being mutually exclusive but the truth is, we can be both, depending on the circumstances.
 
In this moment, as I mourn Federer’s loss against Nadal in the semi-finals of the Australian Open, I’m feeling pretty disagreeable.  So if you see me today, proceed with caution.