It's important to be diplomatic with people, especially nowadays when drama and conflict are abound in everyday life. Sometimes it seems that said conflicts can emerge out of simple misunderstandings. These add an unnecessary negative sort of "excitement" to our lives. People will argue over some of the most trivial things. This is often because we spend a lot more time focusing on one another's differences than our similarities. Much of the time we don't even catch ourselves doing it, which is a problem.
Finding Common Ground
I have always found that the best thing to do when trying to start any sort of relationship is to find something in common. It doesn't matter how small that thing might be. In any sort of diplomatic situation, you have to find common ground. So starting off a relationship on the right foot has to always be about finding common threads. It's surprising how one or two common threads can lead to weaving a tapestry far more intricate than you may have imagined at first meeting.
Unfortunately, too many people tend to stay within certain boundaries. There seem to be more social boundaries now than ever and cliques are forming at an exponential rate. But even among them, there are splinter groups that get into loud and often ugly conflicts with one another. How has this happened? It turns out that focusing on where you ONLY agree and not paying attention to where you disagree is in fact the root of the problem.
What Does it Really Mean for People to Be Compatible?
We hear all this talk about compatibility factors and looking to the stars for answers in both our platonic and romantic lives. But there are only two compatibility factors that matter to me. One is how well you focus on similarities with your friends and partners. The other is how well you cope or learn to "agree to disagree" about your differences with them.
But, I'm not sure "agree to disagree" is always the best policy, either. You need to understand the roots of certain differences. Otherwise, these can lead to some ugly misunderstandings or major miscommunications later. You always want to understand the root causes of why people may think differently than you. Or, try to help others understand your perspective. If there isn't that connection of understanding, there will be trouble down the road. It will not be pleasant for either party, or those parties involved with those affected.
Shared Interests and Hobbies are Good, But They Can't Be Everything
We should have individually-based relationships that are built through mutual understanding and diplomatic agreement. Relationships should not be simply based only around specific activities or interests. In my personal experience, sometimes certain activities or interests are just no longer important to a person. Those people that related with that individual around just those things can suddenly drop away.
Emotional connections should not be based solely around hobbies or interests. It's especially true with those that may not realistically be life-long endeavors. Unfortunately, many people have many friends that they have only because of these activities. If they have some need to move away or those activities are no longer possible, those people can find themselves incredibly lonely. No one wants that, especially as someone who has experienced just that.
Don't Let People Make Arbitrary Judgments For You
While I could go on about how certain groups will assign labels to their cliques or affiliations, this is not really what I'm trying to get at. In fact, I'm trying to promote the exact opposite. We should NOT affiliate ourselves based on arbitrary decisions made by groups.
I believe in our lives that we should build connections based around values and experiences rather than things based in the moment. While we can share memories and activities, we need to have deeper connections than this. Human beings cannot simply plug and unplug the way that you might a game system or a computer. Once connections are broken at times, there is a definite sense of loss.
Spheres of Influence Are Often Completely Out of Your Control, So Don't Let Them Control You
But of course, that loss is always worse for those people on the edge of those spheres of influence that they once belonged to. In there lies the problem that I see with many social groups today. There are spheres of influences that try to steal away individualism for the sake of imagined unity.
Then, whenever there is a split within those spheres of influences, there are a lot of people that end up disappearing completely from the scene. These fractured relationships are usually over stupid little arguments or trivial things. I've lost far too many acquaintances in that way, and a few good friends, as well. Sometimes, I don't even know how I contributed to it. Most likely, I never did at all.
Because of the tensions and conflicts that can exist in many social groups, I have long tended to float around the outside of those spheres. This is why I prefer one-on-one communication far more than being in any sort of group. I just want to be me and I don't want to conform to anything that is expected from a sphere of influence.
Especially these days, once people enter certain spheres they find themselves limited by simply what binds them together. Say for example, you got together with a group of people to watch a particular TV show. Say that show is cancelled and suddenly, you find that your so-called group of friends starts bickering over what show to watch now.
Now you can see how even when people find things in common, it's not the be-all end-all. You have to always find connections BEYOND what brings you together. Otherwise, you will only end up with disagreement, sometimes disagreements that cannot be overcome.
If You Agree to Disagree, Then Understand Why
Yes, you do need to focus on where you agree with others but you ALSO have to focus on where you disagree as well. You need to deal with the more uncomfortable things that can become major points of contention and conflict later. Otherwise, you'll find that your relationships will suffer badly from that lack of understanding as time goes on.
But people hate to be pushed outside of their comfort zones. This is especially true with how easy it is to distract one another with entertainment and the countless other hobbies that people gravitate towards. Human beings require emotional attachments beyond those sorts of things, however. They need to be activities that can be done anywhere. Things that can create stronger connections include causes, shared tasks, and common life goals.
The stronger a connection that you build with someone, the better chance that you will have of overcoming disagreements. So it's not simply enough to "agree to disagree" with people if you want to have truly lasting relationships. All you will end up with is awkwardness or a painful disassociation that could avoided with a simple conversation. A little awkwardness now will go a long way towards having a much more successful and happy relationship later.
I would urge everyone to see all that you have in common with those that you know and embrace and nurture those connections. However, also I urge everyone to recognize and try to negotiate with the differences that you see in those associate with. Try to be diplomatic and come to a better understanding of perspectives and experiences. You may find that both parties will take away a positive, educational experience from these conversations. You can't ever have nothing but positive without making sure that the negative does not build out of control.
Nowadays, there is much negative energy abound that you must be sure that you do not fall victim to it. Always keep a positive outlook but never avoid situations that may be uncomfortable due to disagreement. In resolving these disagreements, you may find some of the best true friends you could have hoped to find.