Culture Magazine

Let’s Agree To Disagree

By V3rv0se

How do you communicate with someone who has completely different opinions to you? How do you exist in the same space without driving each other crazy?

This week at Harper Morgan English we’re learning to talk to people we disagree with. This is especially important in the current political climate as many of us have been shocked by the results of the American presidential race and tensions are running high.

Elizabeth Lesser [1] talks about how, nowadays, people are very likely to have an us-and-them mentality, we are more likely to disagree and argue with individuals who have different points of view before actually getting to know them.

So, she challenges us to take ‘the Other’ to lunch. If you are a Conservative, take a Liberal to lunch; if you are a Liberal take a Conservative. If you want to start small, meet with someone with different religious beliefs. Any person you would consider to have an opposing way of life; take them to lunch. She encourages us to sit down and spend time getting to know ‘the Other’ and understanding their opinions. She stresses that this is not an opportunity for either person to try to convince the other of their way of thinking. In fact the ground rules she gives are to ‘[not] persuade, defend or interrupt. Be curious; be conversational; be real. And listen.’

So here are some things to consider;

If you met with someone you disagreed with completely, what would you want to understand about them? What questions would you ask? Would getting these questions answered help you better respect someones opinion?

Do you think spending time with someone you disagree would eliminate some animosity? Is it possible to bridge the gap with someone by simply knowing them better?

Have you ever tired to change someones opinion because you disagreed with them so strongly?

As ever we are very interested in hearing what you think. Comment, share and join the conversation!

[1] B2 +

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