Respectfully Disagree?

Respectfully Disagree?

It’s no secret that two years of pandemic has taken a toll on many people. Certainly, the physical toll has sadly impacted many thousands of lives. The full emotional impact may not be felt for years, but the early signs are not encouraging. Maybe it’s because we’re just now starting to gather again, but there are warning signs that the way we communicate with each other does not bode well for the future. Maybe some of these traits were always present, but we’re just noticing some of the foulness now because we’ve been keeping our distance for so long.

The level of animus exhibited by some in simply normal conversations causes me to believe that we could all use a refresher course in communication skills. For example, if someone responds to an idea or suggestion by uttering the words, “I respectfully disagree”, that’s a pretty good sign that the conversation won’t lead in a productive direction. Maybe being secluded for so long has led some folks to believe that only the ideas contained within their minds really matter.

I had my own “respectfully disagree” moment this past week. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised because the person who delivered the line is the type of person who would probably disagree with the color of the blue sky by stating that it’s green and that my eyesight is wrong. After the stinger line was delivered, my mind drifted off for a moment to a place where multiple choice questions live. I began to think about potential responses to such an insensitive remark and I came up with a couple of scenarios:

Let’s throw down: I suppose I could have not-so-respectfully disagreed with my respectfully disagreeing foe and turned a tense moment into an ugly one. Although in years past I enjoyed a spirited argument, my over-60 energy isn’t quite up to the task any longer. This was not an option.

Thank you, sir, may I have another: I could have simply agreed with my foe’s disagreement and fetched us both some coffee, but my warrior ancestors would have been quite disappointed in me and would have most likely sent down a lightning bolt to remind me of my roots. Again, not an option.

Pass the eraser: I’m starting to feel pretty good about this “cancel culture” way of thinking. You know, someone says something you don’t like, why fight it? Is it possible to simply air brush the insensitive lout right out of the picture? You know what? It works! A little erasing, a dab of white-out and that cantankerous character, along with their snotty little comments, is suddenly a non-factor. The entire episode is forgotten.

Now, what was I talking about?

Filed under: business, relationships

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