I remember having conversations with people and spending a lot of time trying to get them to agree with me. I don’t know why I did it, but it was some goal of mine to show this person that they were wrong about something. I was sure that once I presented the facts, or, rather, my reasons why they were wrong, then they would agree with me because of course I’m right. But I run with strong-minded people who form their own opinions about stuff. They didn’t need my thoughts about it. I mean, sure, most of the time these topics would come up in casual conversation, but if we disagreed, I didn’t need to try to force them to agree with me. Live and let live, even if they are wrong
That was a hard thing to learn and it’s an ongoing struggle. Especially with social media where we share our thoughts with an audience of people we’ve never spent any time talking to in person. Hell, we’ve never spoken to them on the phone. Or we haven’t spoken to them in 20 years and they have no idea about the person you are now and only have access to the things you chose to broadcast on social media.
And sometimes, they are people you’ve recently met and with whom you are still learning how to interact.
Getting to know people is a learning experience and can have a steep learning curve. I have a lot of quirks and only the most “live and let live” folks can roll deep with me. I’m smart, opinionated, passionate, assertive, and confident. That is a combination that means I’m pretty much going to do what I want and not give too much of a fuck if it bothers you. I won’t intentionally hurt you and if I do, I want you to speak up and let me know, but for the most part I’m going to do what I’m going to do and hope I’m not hurting people in the process.
Also, I know my own mind and you can’t change it. The best you can do is present information, either anecdotal or documented research, and leave it alone. The more you try to change my mind, the less I am willing to listen to you. And any type of manipulation will be met with extreme prejudice.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s a struggle not to engage on subjects I feel passionately about, but I try to catch myself when I start trying to persuade people to a different point of view. I am EXTREMELY liberal on a majority of things, including gender, sexuality, crime, poverty, and human rights and I live in Georgia – one of the most conservative states in the country. So I know the deal. I’m different and I’m cool with it. I have to be cool with it, otherwise I’d be unable to function.
Which brings us back to why I don’t debate. It’s toxic. It makes me look at people differently. It makes it hard for me to interact with them. It makes me frustrated when I can’t shift your perspective. It makes me frustrated and angry when you keep trying to shift mine. It gets manipulative and I don’t like when people try to manipulate me. I don’t like when I realize I’m manipulating others.
I have no problem sharing my thoughts if you ask. I have no problem posting my opinion about some issue, but I won’t debate you on it. I may choose to clarify my thoughts if you ask. I may offer to clarify my thoughts. But that thing where you try to convince me that I’m wrong? Eh. I’m not going to do that. And I’m not going to try to convince you that you are wrong. I might explain why if you ask, but other than that, you can hold any stupid opinion and belief that you want. And if it’s not too shitty, I can roll with it and with you because honestly, what you think is none of my business.