As I took my shower and felt the hot water running down my face over my body, my mind started wandering. My mind wandered to a place where I started thinking about how to respond to opinions. I don’t agree with everyone. I have different views, feelings, and whatnot about lifestyles, the world, and everything in between.
I see people arguing online all of the time, well, that is until I started using KillNewsFeed extension in Chrome, and now I have my newsfeed hidden on FB so I see fewer negative threads. Prior to using this amazing extension, I would log into Facebook for work to update clients’ FB pages only to get distracted with the first post in my newsfeed being someone arguing about something.
This set me back emotionally. I would get so sad, frustrated, and sometimes angry about how others have become so volatile online. It’s as if they forgot how to show common courtesy, respect, and an appreciation for differences of opinion. People are so wound up due to varying conditions, such as being stuck at home, yes I know people who haven’t left their house since March.
This being cooped up inside, not having the social interactions they need, the masking up when they do go out, and other such conditions that people call the new norm can make it difficult for human beings to feel connected as a community. So, yes, I do understand how people have come to be so quick to snap, but that doesn’t mean I accept it as good behavior.
What to say when you don’t agree with someone?
Now that I shared why I can understand people getting all defensive and being so angry all of the time, it’s important that others understand how to reply to someone’s opinion during our current state of the world.
Learning what to say when you don’t agree with someone, such as responding to a different opinion than me, means rethinking how you’d typically comment or reply. During this process it’s important to think about a few things:
- Will your response help or hurt the situation?
- What’s your end goal with replying to someone’s opinion?
- Will your end goal be reached by typing a reply online?
- What can you do to help the conversation flow better?
- How can you respond to a different opinion than me, without hurting the relationship?
These questions above that you will ask yourself before responding to someone you don’t agree with can help you be more mindful. Practicing mindfulness goes a long way in encouraging healthy relationships, and friendships.
You need to remember that social media is all text, it doesn’t give the reader any tone or facial expressions to comprehend how you meant what you typed out on their threaded conversation.
Part of effective communication involves the other person seeing your body language, facial expression, and hearing your tone. Replying to someone you don’t agree with on social media provides a greater risk for the other person, and their friends, to read what you typed based on their current mood and perspective more-so than you’d experience during a real-life in-person or virtual video chat.
If you’re curious about specific examples on what to say to someone you don’t agree with, I laid out a few samples in my earlier articles. 4 ways to respond to a difference of opinion dives into the topic of cyberbullying, with samples of what you can say to someone when you don’t agree with them.
How do you deal with people who don’t agree with you?
When it comes to learning how to respond to opinions on the internet, you’re going to learn more through trial and error than anything else. One day you may be able to reply to someone’s opinion and they’re open to hearing what you have to say. The next day? They could do a complete 180 and you’re left feeling very confused.
This brings me back to remembering how our world has been since the beginning of 2020, perhaps even earlier than that. Many people have been cooped up at home, lost their jobs, seeing much loss in their family, and feel deep sorrow. While, again, I understand this but don’t condone treating others horribly simply because you’re in a bad state of mind, we must not forget this part of the equation right now.
Practicing some grace right now may be in your best interest if this friendship matters to you. If you do reply to someone’s opinion and they get snippy with you; let it go! It’s more important to maintain the relationship than it is to harm the connection simply due to hot-headedness.
Allow them to have the last word, and walk away from that conversation. Don’t reply on the thread and certainly don’t engage in private conversations. You can shut off notifications for the thread using options on social media accounts, snooze the person, or simply unfollow them for a little bit so you’re not tempted to engage.
Just let it go.
Learning to embrace the concept of letting it go, not having to have the last word, and being content with letting the conversation stop when things get too heated doesn’t make you weak. It doesn’t mean they’re right and you’re wrong, it simply means that you’ve learned to be the bigger person.
You’ll soon realize who you can engage with online in healthy debates and who you cannot engage with. Make a list, if you must, or clean out your “friends list” so that you’re only connected with people who embrace a difference of opinion and healthy debate.
There are many options to choose from when it comes to responding to opinions online. You must always remember that each of us sees the ‘truth’ and the world through a different lens. One person’s experiences are different than yours.
One person may have had a horrible experience being homeless, for example, so they’re very passionate about homelessness, whereas someone like me, had a fairly good outcome from being homeless, so I can see the situation from a different viewpoint.
Each of us only sees the topic through our experiences, our environment, and our upbringing. I heard that many adults have formed their opinions while in college, and many people know that the university education, and public education system, typically leans one way.
This will play a huge role in how someone views the topic and whether they can engage in a healthy debate or even adjust their opinion about the topic.
How do you not let others opinion bother you?
In conclusion, we’re all different people. We’ve had different upbringings, different education, different experiences, and live in different regions of the world. All of these factors will come into play when you’re playing in the sandbox of the social media world with people from all over the world.
I believe that if we can just practice a bit more grace and let go of our ego that tells us we’re right and we must change the other person’s opinon about soemthing that we can all live a bit more peacefully online and in-real-life.
Once you learn to be more mindful and relax your ego, you’ll soon find that you’re able to respond to a different opinon than me and have some pretty amazing friendships in the internet world.