Thursday, July 26, 2007

Note to self

(Be less critical.)

Maybe five years ago, I was visiting a friend. She asked my opinion on a particular subject (an area of personal choice). I launched into a ten-minute heated expression of my opinion, pointed one way. Then she quietly told me that she believed the other way.

Oops.

Then I proceeded to try to dig myself out by apologizing about twenty times. How much easier my life would have been if I had been careful in what I said!

2 comments:

the lone beader said...

If she didn't want to know, she wouldn't have asked...

If you are true friends, you shouldn't have to apologize for having an opposite belief...

Marti Smith said...

The Lone Beader is right... but on the other hand a bit of care is not misplaced.

I, too, often give a longer answer to a question than I should - without determining what the person is asking or where they might be coming from. It's worth a bit of probing and clarifying before beginning one's rant (or rave).

One time sharing an opposite belief went =well= for me is when a friend with a rather protected upbringing, - just being exposed to some new ways of thinking about politics - took me out to coffee, sat me down, and asked me why I am a [member of the political party less popular among American evangelicals!]

She respected me and really wanted to see my point of view. I was touched. The discussion also helped =me= put into words what I realized were probably some unusual reasons for why I think the way I do, and recommit myself to those values, while recognizing as I spoke that there are also great arguments for aligning oneself differently.

It's too bad we so seldom invest the time and energy into considering the intent and likely effect of our words. It does slow things down...