You know what drives me crazy?
People who can’t allow other people to have their own opinion. It’s an opinion! We all have the right to one. But some people seem offended when others have opinions that differ. Let’s take sports, a subject I really don’t care all that much about. People really get into their sports teams and can be violent towards those who cheer for a different team. Really? If you press me, I like the Braves & Hawks for baseball & basketball and Georgia Tech is my college team since my college didn’t get into sports. Hockey & soccer, whatever. I suppose the Falcons would round out my Atlanta group in football. Luckily, the majority of my preferred teams aren’t big rivals for anyone, but I’ve gotten some real crap about a few of my choices. Singing the GA Tech fight song is enough to bring real contempt in a few circles. It’s just a song! Hell, it’s just a GAME! They don’t call a football game a Football THE FATE OF THE WORLD RESTS ON THE OUTCOME OF THIS EVENT! Why? Because it doesn’t. It’s supposed to be fun.
Then there’s politics. This has become a huge sore point in our country. I’ve been on the loosing side for a while and am happy to finally be on the side that’s able to make some decisions. I prefer the decisions my group makes over the other group. That’s why I voted for them. Does that invalidate the other side? No! There are plenty of people who prefer the decisions that group makes, and if they can rally enough people, they can be back in the decision making chair next time. Of course, I’m going to work to keep my side in that seat, but that makes sense. I want the people I agree with making the laws. It would be nonsensical for me to be otherwise. Some people think that whichever side they’re on is 100% perfect and right in every way. I don’t. There are topics on which I may disagree with my chosen group, but until I run for office, there most likely will not be a politician who perfectly embodies all of my opinions. These same people also seem to believe that expressing a different opinion is somehow unAmerican. Well, I think that’s a load of bunk. We are here because our ancestors had a different opinion from whatever country they came from. We are no longer a British colony because enough people had a strong enough difference of opinion that they chose to declare war on their rulers. We are founded on the right to have separate opinions from our neighbors and yet still be able to live amicably together.
I admit, there are certain topics that I feel strongly enough about to try and convince others to change their opinion. But I realized that the worst way to do this is by screaming at people who disagree and telling them how wrong they are. Nope! They’re just going to dig their heels in and scream right back at me. I have to show them that my way makes more sense. I have to appeal to their sense of order, understanding, morality, etc. Take recycling for example. I have had friends in the past who believe that recycling is unnecessary, even wrong, because they believe that it takes more energy to make a can out of recycled aluminum than brand new. I disagree. I think they aren’t taking into account the energy required to mine and refine the ore, to transport it, and to dispose of the waste of the old can we are replacing. I think they aren’t taking into account the destruction of the landscape in the mining activities or the potential environmental hazards caused by both the mining and the disposal processes. Now, if I yelled at them every time they threw away a can “HOW DARE YOU DESTROY MY ENVIRONMENT YOU LAZY JERK!” they would never listen to me. Instead, I dig their can out of the garbage and recycle it myself and when an appropriate time comes in a civil conversation, I voice my concerns and allow them the chance to voice theirs. Hopefully, I am able to persuade. If not, that doesn’t mean we can’t still be friends.
Obviously, I’m not advocating keeping your opinion to yourself, but I’m also not advocating screaming it from the mountain tops to the irritation of all around you. If you feel strongly about a topic, share it in a civilized manner! If you don’t feel strongly enough to stand behind your opinion in an intelligent way, be willing to compromise. Being louder doesn’t make you smarter, better or more correct. It just makes us all think you’re a big baby who can’t come up with a good enough defense of your opinion to voice it in an adult tone and must resort to tantrum techniques. It’s unattractive and undermines your stance. Now let’s all go out and be adults.