Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Agree to Disagree, Agreeably without being Disagreeable… m-kay?

Technology is great. I love it. Having grown up in the military I have made friends and lost track of those friends more times than I can count. I fell in love with Facebook because it gave me instant access to people that I thought were lost forever.
Lisa, my best friend from Third Grade is a
professional photographer, see her work at Tilley Photography
One of my earliest besties from Third Grade, Lisa Tilley-Newman who is now an AMAZINGLY talented photographer on the Mississippi Gulf Coast found me and I'm so happy she did! Thanks to the daily check-ins, status updates, posts and connections on Facebook I can communicate with my friends from college who pre-facebook, I would hear from, MAYBE, once year via an annual Christmas Newsletter, IF I was lucky. Now I get to actually maintain a virtual relationship that spans time and space. No matter where I am or when, I can check in on my girlfriend Kelly, that SavvyMoxie mama (check out her $$ saving blog) and see what's happening with her family.

A word of wisdom about reconnecting with old pals… very often, especially when reconnecting with friends from our youth, the things that brought us together as young people may not be the glue that keeps us together as adults. Hopefully, as adults, we are mature enough to realize that we are individuals with our own sets of beliefs and should treat one another with respect and consideration. That doesn't mean that we can't voice our opinion and disagree. Part of being friends is celebrating our differences and learning from each other.  After all, who wants to be surrounded by a bunch of yes men? Not me! Give me diversity.

I write all this because I was de-friended this week by an old friend.  I respected this friend. I thought this friend respected me. This friend and I are polar opposites politically and we had, or so I thought, a good time debating politics. Our debates were always respectful. Always honest. And we always came away with an understanding that we were entitled to our own opinion and that was what made America great. I was so proud of our friendship. I used it as a shining example of how people with drastically different points of view could communicate respectfully and openly and honestly and maintain their friendship. Something went wrong this week; I've since found that this friend felt that debating in general was "disrespectful" and rather than send me a message, felt it necessary to try erase my existence from Facebook by pressing a button.

Well, good riddance.

If debate is "disrespectful" then I am a marked woman. I will not agree with you for the sake of agreement. I have a brain and I want to learn. I want to know what you think and why. I will never attack you, and I will be painfully respectful, whether you are or not.

So don't be afraid to talk, but do be mindful that there is a human being on the other end of that keyboard and though to you you're simply deleting a name from your friend list, your actions speak volumes about your character, and don't think your swift deletes go unnoticed by your other friends. You see some think technology has separated us from each other, but I think it's brought us closer together… and even given us virtual villages to help keep us accountable to one another.

What do you think?