It’s politeness and courtesy in speech and behavior.
It’s reasonable and respectful behavior.
It is dialogue without heated debate.
Looking around our communities and spending any time on social media, it’s becoming harder and harder to find. Nasty comments left anonymously have become the norm on social posts. That feeling of not having to take ownership of statements emboldens people to say things in a much sharper manner than they might if they were having the conversation face to face with someone.
But even more alarming to me is what I see in day to day life. People seem to have no regard for the feelings of others. Just listen to the daily exchanges in line at any fast food restaurant or while you are grocery shopping and you’re more than likely to witness an exchange that should make you a little uncomfortable.
It seems we allow emotions to take over much more quickly now. Comments are taken as a personal attack. We no longer allow comments to roll off our backs, shake our head and think “bless their little heart – their ignorance is showing.”
People don’t fear any consequence for sharing their comments; despite the fact people have lost their jobs after some of these encounters have been videoed and circulated around the internet.
It seems the worse the behavior is, the more people are fascinated by it. It should cause you to recoil, but instead people share it and give it more traction.
This is spreading into all areas and it’s becoming harder and harder for people to have conversations concerning politics, religion, community needs and more. There seems to be less and less listening or discussion and just more reaction.
Civility is working at staying present even when the people around you are passionate about and have deep seated beliefs which fall out on the other side of the fence from you.
We’ve got to find places and ways to disagree without being disagreeable. We can’t just ignore what we don’t agree with. It doesn’t just go away.
We must get back to a place where we can have real discussions without fear. Just because opinions and ideas are different, doesn’t mean they are threatening. Without a real exchange of ideas there is no real chance to grow or share opposing viewpoints. You can’t learn if you only listen to one point of view.
We all grow stronger, not weaker, when we engage with others and ideas we disagree with. It’s important to talk to find common ground. That common ground allows us to build and to really begin to have the chance to make real change in communities, the workplace and even in our own homes.
Check out this great TED Talk and see what you think.
“How our friendship survives our opposing politics”
Can you still be friends with someone who doesn’t vote the same way as you? For Caitlin Quattromani and Lauran Arledge, two best friends who think very differently about politics, the outcome of the 2016 US presidential election could have resulted in hostility and disrespect. Hear about how they chose to engage in dialogue instead — and learn some simple tactics they’re using to maintain their bipartisan friendship.
You might not be able to completely avoid working with others whose habits you dislike, but you can focus your energy on being the best person you can be.