How to Be Friends When You've Got Different Opinions
One of the most difficult things we’re facing during the pandemic is the ability to remain friends and stay amicable with family when our opinions are polarizing. It’s not the first time we're faced with a difference in opinion from those we love, however we’ve become used to not bringing up our different political opinions at a family dinner. We know our friends well enough to avoid sensitive topics.
What's different is that during the pandemic, some of us feel comfortable sharing our opinions publicly. Sharing articles, scientific papers, blog posts, or YouTube videos that have polarizing views is adding fuel to the fire. I've seen friends posting things on Facebook without thinking and this can create irreparable damage in our relationships.
You might be thinking, "maybe I do need to let go of that toxic person in my life." I agree, there are benefits letting go of toxic people in our lives. But what if these aren't toxic friends? I’ve noticed that several people I care about and respect have very different opinions than I do on the pandemic.
Here’s what I’m challenging us to do:
Remember that it IS possible to be friends with someone and to have different opinions about things.
One of my dearest friends, Karen (that’s her real name) and I agree on a lot of things when it comes to business, mindset and personal growth. At the same time, there are topics that we do not agree on and have completely different opinions. What’s been really important for us is to choose not to spend time discussing the things that we're so far apart on.
We’re able to do this because we have both built network marketing businesses, and we’ve learnt that we aren't in the convincing business. I'm not here to convince you to start a business. You either want to start a business or you don't. I'll share the information with you and you can make the decision that's best for you and your family.
None of us are in the convincing business. Having different opinions about what's happening during the pandemic is OK! It isn't our job to convince others that our point of view may be correct.
My hope is that we remember that we can still respect each other as human beings even if we don’t agree. Being right does not make you wrong and vice-versa. There are things that we may not be able to change during the pandemic, but we can change our attitude and how we treat others.
Is it worth the cost of losing a friendship to be right?
Last month, I shared a blog post called the Tsunami of Gratitude. I wrote about a beautiful tsunami of gratitude all over the world. We thanked our essential workers, we put hearts in our windows and on our trash bins. At seven o'clock, we'd make noise to honor our front-line healthcare workers. As I concluded the blog post, I shared that my prayer for the future is that when we look back at the COVID-19 pandemic that we remember the tsunami of gratitude. I wanted us to continue expressing our thanks for those who provide essential services before they become invisible again.
I'm heartbroken that in such a short time all this beautiful gratitude that I was seeing all over social media has virtually disappeared.
Six or seven weeks ago, my Facebook feed was filled with people sharing their gratitude. Now, our frustration is becoming evident. We’ve become COVID-tired. Instead of sharing gratitude, many are focused on convincing others that they're right.
I'd love to see us sharing our gratitude again.
Here's an idea to get you started:
Look back on the past six to eight weeks and find a dozen things you're grateful for. We're all having a different pandemic experience and how it's affecting our families. I’m sure we can find dozens of good things that have happened in spite of the pandemic.
I am very grateful for the time that I've had with my family. I’m grateful for the growth in our businesses, and my husband and I are working more than ever before. And I’m grateful that we both take time off on Saturday and spend it as a family.
We can be friends with people who have different opinions than us. We can stay in relationship with our family members when we have different opinions.
When someone keeps sharing their (unwanted) opinion, tell them that your friendship is more important. Choose to not speak about it when you're together, talk about other things and find different ways to connect.
I wish you all a huge tsunami of gratitude this week. Join me in in adding gratitude to your social media and to your interactions with others. Let’s share how important a daily gratitude practice is and the difference it's making for us as we navigate a whole new world. Together we can be the change that moves us towards expressing more gratitude than ever before!
This blog post was inspired by a recent podcast episode:
Guess what? We've created an online community of Gratitude Ambassadors and I'd love for you to JOIN US!
This community of Gratitude Ambassadors is for grateful peeps who want a positive place to hang out on Facebook. We encourage our Ambassadors to invite friends who need gratitude inspiration in their lives too!