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Not Following Opposing Views; Good Or Bad?

Posted by on Dec 14, 2011

I’ve been thinking about this one a lot lately. I tend to have certain criteria that I employ when I’m deciding who I’m going to follow on Twitter or on Facebook. I wrote a little bit about it when I posted an article titled Why I Don’t Want To Follow Some Twitter Folks some time ago. I didn’t address some other things, though I easily could, and I may mention them as I write this post.


by Ben Jordan via Flickr

See, what I recognize is that I refuse to follow anyone whose views I pretty much know I’m not going to support. So, being liberal, I don’t follow anyone I already know is conservative or Republican because they’ve put it in their profile. I also go back through a bunch of messages before I add anyone on both Twitter or Facebook, and if I see that they support a different political view than mine, I won’t even bother.

The same kind of thing goes for religion for the most part. If I see someone always quoting Bible verses or other religious quotes, or talking about their religion in some way all the time, I’m not following. I just don’t want to hear it. In this case I do have some friends who consider religion an important part of their lives, so that’s somewhat different. I can say that because I think I only have one friend that’s a Republican (I have 2 others who’s registered as Republicans, but they’re really not).

There’s always this 800-pound gorilla in the room that says if we can’t talk about our differences then we’ll never come together to get things done. I believe that can be true in many circumstances, but I think the past almost 3 years have proven that it’s not going to work anymore when it comes to politics. Let’s face it; the Republicans have shot down everything President Obama has put forward with the only intention to get him out of office in 2012. They would rather hurt everyone in America so they can call him a failed president; this isn’t just my opinion, as I could find quotes from some prominent Republican leaders to prove the point.

Government has always been about negotiation; almost no one got entirely what they wanted, but we got things passed without this much animosity. Now, with all the animosity, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are just some things people can’t talk about, and if that’s the case then I’m not the one who’s going to get into a shouting match with anyone. I’m the guy who wrote a post on de-stressing one’s life after all. There’s civil debate, and then there’s ranting and ignorance that I’m just not going to deal with. Yeah, I’m going to share some ignorance, stunned that this is in, of all places, Boston:

I’ve reached this point in my life where I believe in two separate things, and I’m not necessarily happy about it. Those two separate things, which actually blends into one, are that there are communications that are important enough to have, even if it breeds controversy, in a working environment, while in one’s personal life they should decide what level of peace they’d like in their life.

As someone who does leadership training I tend to believe that people need to learn how to communicate with each other at work, even having opposing views, because work is about the company and not individuals. That and I do have that book to the left side on leadership that I wrote after all.

But when it comes to your own time and your own peace of mind… well, let’s just say that I avoid people like in that video at all costs because there will never be a civil discussion with anyone who can’t accept any real facts. It’s kind of like the debate between favorite music, only much more vicious.

Still, I’m going to put it out here as a question or two. Do you find yourself hanging more with people you agree with? Do you try to bring peace into your life or find yourself always arguing with people because you enjoy it or feel it’s necessary? And are your criteria lax or tight when it comes to who you’ll follow in social media?
 

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16 Comments »

Kristi Persevere:

I’m not even for certain this will get through. The rules for placing a reply post seem to be awfully stringent. I would prefer to remain anonymous. Okay, on with the questions:

Do you find yourself hanging more with people you agree with? I don’t hang with many, but I often find myself ‘around’ many simply because I like to know what others are thinking. The only time I truly get involved in a discussion is when it involves the mistreatment of children. This bothers me greatly. Other debates, like politics or religion, I can keep quiet about and just absorb the information.

Do you try to bring peace into your life or find yourself always arguing with people because you enjoy it or feel itโ€™s necessary? Peace, for sure. The peace I try to obtain within myself is the only reason my daughter and I are able to live within the same home.

And are your criteria lax or tight when it comes to who youโ€™ll follow in social media? I’m new to this, so I’m not for certain I quite qualify to answer this question. Mostly, I need an interest to stay intrigued.

December 14th, 2011 | 12:31 PM

That’s great stuff Kristi, and I appreciate your responses. Actually I don’t think replying here is stringent; as it says, I just need a name to call someone, whether it’s their real name or not.

Your responses are obviously close to mine, even in social media. Blogging is considered as social media in my opinion, so if you only visit blogs that don’t get your juices flowing with anger that you feel you must respond to then you’re qualified to respond to this question. Sometimes one doesn’t know until the first visit but I can honestly say that I don’t subscribe to any blogs that just get on my nerves. ๐Ÿ™‚

December 14th, 2011 | 12:43 PM
Cindy:

I am a liberal, too. But I think as liberals we have to be always open-minded, I always read the aspects from the other side, too. In the religious things as well. You know, you always have to know your enemy:) And there are sometimes constructive conversations between the opposite sides.
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December 14th, 2011 | 12:45 PM

Cindy, I just haven’t seen it and certainly haven’t been a party to one since Obama won the presidency. The thing is I do see what the other side is saying in news, forums, etc. I read it then I get out of there ASAP. There are ways of communicating that might make such conversations acceptable to have, but for the most part I’m not seeing it, and thus I’m not participating.

December 14th, 2011 | 3:41 PM
jim syyap:

Great article. Thank you for sharing. I try to balance my feeds from both sides–those that are different from mine sometimes get more space, about 60%. BUT, these opinion makers that are different from mine has to be trustworthy and know what it is they are talking about.
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December 14th, 2011 | 4:49 PM

You’re a better man than I am Jim. I see stuff here and there but I don’t want to be subjected to some of the stuff I see people saying about Obama, the lies and all. Has he been the most effective president in history? No. Has he had the opportunity to even work with the “party of no”; nope. So I restrict it as much as I can. By the way, sometimes I don’t want to hear from those that agree with me as well; some of them can be a bit too extreme for my tastes here and there.

December 15th, 2011 | 12:11 AM
Carl:

May be one of the reasons why I am working from home. I was really tired of arguing with so many “professors”. Well, sometimes social media brings this back to me, but it is easy to close the page, however I can’t say that I am not getting mad, but certainly waste less energy for that.

December 15th, 2011 | 2:16 AM

Carl, I never really had to worry about people getting on my nerves in person; not quite sure why. But online people will say anything in any way without regard for anyone else’s feelings and that’s where I draw the line and decide I don’t need to deal with them. My time, my space.

December 15th, 2011 | 2:32 AM

Sure, I haven’t had any problem with that, probably I am just happy to be around my family. Well sometimes, it is very difficult to deal with people online as there are “difficult” people out there.

December 16th, 2011 | 1:08 AM

That’s your point of view …and you are right enough ๐Ÿ™‚
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December 15th, 2011 | 10:05 AM
Dean:

Well, it depends for each of us. You might find something interesting following views that oppose your own.
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December 15th, 2011 | 11:23 AM

No Dean, I don’t think so. I’ve given it a good 50 years and history proves otherwise.

December 15th, 2011 | 11:51 AM

Hey Mitch! This is certainly an interesting question, Whether i hang out more with people I agree with? Yes, i think it is correct. Maybe because we are living in highly competitive enviroment. Being a very communicative person i personally like to spend time with friends who and i think alike as there is always shortage of time, and in this time if i started spending time with someone i dont agree with.. the things will be little difficult!

I think you being in the leadership training field, must be meeting a lot bunch of people like me!!
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December 16th, 2011 | 1:29 AM

I do at times John, and I’m lucky to be able to employ all the things I write about into those meetings. That’s where one really learns how to evaluate the people they deal with and how to separate those who you figure you can get along with long term and those you hope you don’t have to spend much time with. And yet, you can treat them all fairly in person; that’s the other piece of the pie.

December 17th, 2011 | 2:10 PM

Leave it to Mitch to write about a topic such as this. Good questions you’ve addressed Mitch.

I tend to draw people toward me that we have a lot in common. Thank goodness for that but I do have people in my life, family included, that we definitely don’t have the same views on politics and religion. Which is why I always tell them we are not discussing it. They have their views and nothing will change them and so do I. It doesn’t mean I don’t like you as a person or even love you for that matter, but there is also no need in arguing about it either.

If I do have someone add me on the social networking sites and I see in their profile or what they are posting that they are extremely verbal about their political views or their religious beliefs that I don’t agree with, I won’t add them. I refuse to be preached to, end of story.

I know who I am and what I believe and I think that everyone who knows me online and offline will agree that I’m an alright person. I don’t need to shove my views down your throat so I don’t appreciate having the same thing done to me. You are more than welcome to your own opinions but I have the choice whether I want to listen to them or not.

So that’s my story Mitch and I’m sticking to it! ๐Ÿ™‚
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December 16th, 2011 | 12:40 PM

Love that Adrienne, and we’re of the same spirit. Live and let live, just don’t expect me to live as “you” do right? This is another reason why robo-adding people to one’s Twitter account is a bad thing; that and Facebook. I check everyone out.

December 17th, 2011 | 2:07 PM