We are all imperfect human beings who live our day to day life fueled by varying emotions. Social media seems to have provided us an outlet to respond quickly, before thinking. It seems somewhere along the lines a difference in opinions has become a bad thing. When someone uses their personal online space to express their opinion on a sensitive subject matter, they may find themselves being attacked. I am seeing more and more verbally abusive comments as each day passes. This is called cyber bullying and adults everywhere are doing it just as bad, if not worse than teenagers do.
What is Cyberbullying?
Typically cyberbullying is using an electronic format to send harassing, intimidating and quite often threatening words to another human being. Cyberbullying is usually done in text format and often times results in leaving the victim feeling a multitude of negative emotions. Cyberbullying can happen in all age groups and appears in many different ways.
How to Respond to Difference of Opinions
Since not a single soul is a perfect person, cyberbullying can happen quite by accident. Whether accident or not, it’s still unacceptable. When we allow our emotions to run our responses, we often find ourselves guilty of being bullies. With social media just a fingertip away from us, it’s easy to allow emotions to run our world. There are many ways one can respond to a difference of opinions without being a cyberbully.
Response Ideas for Difference of Opinions
- “Interesting. Do you mind if I attempt to explain my opinion on this topic based upon my own personal experiences?”
- “While I don’t agree with your view on this topic, I will respectfully disagree and hope that you take the time to research and open your mind to the current state of our nation.”
- “Do you mind if I express why I feel completely opposite about your stance on this topic?”
- “Based upon my experiences of <insert experiences here>, I have to disagree with how you feel and say that this makes me feel sad to know there are still people who feel this way on this topic.”
Why Responses Matter
The few samples provided above work to engage the person who has a difference of opinion in a positive way. The person may feel more apt to let you explain your view on the topic or politely decline. If they politely decline your invitation to discuss, then respect their response and walk away from the conversation. There are people who are very passionate about their opinions and do not want to hear the other side. While you have a right to feel this is unacceptable, they have a right to live that way too. While you may be frustrated at what you feel is ignorance or hate, attacking this human being is never acceptable from any person of any age. The world would be a more peaceful place if more of us started respecting another human being’s right to have their opinion. Just because someone spewed out something that they will not follow along with, will not partake in and do not believe in doesn’t mean you have to tell them that they suck, they are pigs, and their children should be pitied. That type of name calling and family shaming falls under the category of cyberbullying. Congratulations, you just became a bully; how does that make you feel?
I leave you with these questions to ponder …
- How would you handle your child calling someone a name because they don’t believe in the same things?
- What would you say to your child if they decided that swearing, name calling, and family bashing was a smart response to a difference of opinion?
- When you look in the mirror each day, does it feel good knowing you threatened, intimidated and put down another human being?
If each of these questions doesn’t help you to pause before typing or writing a full FB update to put another human being down, then I don’t know what will help. All I do know is that we are all guilty of typing or speaking before thinking. Sometimes silence is not a bad thing at all. Silence is a way to show that you are a bigger person and will find another way to educate others to help sway them to see your way of life.
Having a disagreement? Here's better ways to respond to encourage a discussion ...Click To Tweet
Let’s learn to have open-minded discussions, that’s how things get resolved and occasionally opinions change.