We are all different, even in the way we treat people

People are all different, that’s for sure!

We all know people who we don’t see very often but when we do see them again it is as if you’ve never been apart in that time.

You don’t need to see them all the time but you know there is a bond and closeness that defies the distance or the circumstances of not seeing each other more often.

They are the kind of people who know how to handle us. They know how to talk to us, and what we like to talk about and not talk about.

There are people who we have an affinity with. We get on well with them and we enjoy their company. We don’t want to live in their pockets though, and likewise they in ours.

Part match not a carbon copy of ourselves

It is highly likely that the people we are friends with aren’t a 100% match with us. There will be certain characteristics, particular habits, some individual opinions that don’t sit right with us totally. But we look past those. We don’t mind that they make different choices to us in certain areas of life.

We accept that they are not us. They aren’t the same as us. They do things differently to us or think alternatively to how we see things. These are good things! It would be strange agreeing 100% on everything all the time with someone.

Not seeing things exactly the same as someone else has positive angles. Healthy debate may be had and exploration of different viewpoints. Acceptance that you see an alternative angle on something is a good thing to have. Not every disagreement needs an argument to fuel or antagonise others.

Some people love an argument and feel the need to make more out of a difference in opinion. I don’t understand that mind set. Or at least I didn’t think I did.

Acceptance
Acceptance

Disagreements and being challenged

If I had a different view as someone else, I could just go along with what they thought or not challenge their thoughts. That would be seen as weak though for going along with them. If I saw things differently from them and challenged them, then that may be an opportunity for them to try and test out my views and see how strongly I would back up a viewpoint.

Sometimes we don’t always know the reasoning we believe things, but we still firmly believe that way. Sometimes we don’t have the energy or internal interest to ever argue the point. Our standpoint may be to accept difference and not to want to rise to a challenge.

Difference of opinions
Difference of opinions

I would much prefer to go about life without the need for justification or challenges, when the option of acceptance is available. I am much more diplomatic and maybe even passive. (The fact I phrased that as ‘maybe even passive’ might confirm the passivity!) I don’t see value in being involved in arguments.

Handling difference through acceptance

Could it be that my calmness helps me accept difference easier? Could it be that if I don’t feel too strongly about a topic that I don’t have the same fire and conviction behind me to defend or back up a viewpoint?

Either way, I do believe that acceptance is important. We should hope that people accept our quirks and ways in the same way that we accept other peoples’ ways and different opinions too.

Acquaintances
Acquaintances

Yes, it is important, no, it is vital, that we know that we are that person too! It isn’t just a quirk of other people. We have that trait at times to some people too. Accepting we do, may take longer for some people to take on board than others!

Finding that special accepting place

It could be that with some people there are more topics of disagreement than agreement. It could be that between you, you sideline any issues that are known to be controversial or concerning between the two of you.

That acceptance is managed then. You work and focus on what works, and not on the disagreements and differences. That is an amazing place for two human beings to be in. That is to be celebrated. It is also a good place to aim for if you know there are differences between you and someone else.

Friends or acquaintances?

Understanding those differences made me think more about who I see as friends, and those I see as just acquaintances. Acquaintances aren’t as bothered about how I accept what they say. Friends are much more concerned that I am not contra-affected by what they say.

Acquaintances and friends
Acquaintances and friends

I think it is difficult to go through this classification without some justification. Understanding how people treat each other is the difference between looking out for yourself while looking out for others, and whether others do the same for you in return?

There are those people who will keep the disagreements and differences to themselves. They will make them known to you tactfully and respectfully, but not in an in your face ‘making an issue’ way.

There are people who are more open about stating their mind, and won’t consider your viewpoint or sensitivity whilst doing so. They will say they are just speaking their mind. This is one thing, but you can state a viewpoint whilst considering the impact of the statement at the same time.

What is the difference between them?

A responsible friend will make sure they put across what they say sensitively in a way that doesn’t offend the other person.

An acquaintance is more concerned with stating their view, rather than how the message is being received.

Friendship and acquaintance characteristics
Friendship and acquaintance characteristics

I think if you look at things that way, you can come to one of a few conclusions:

  • They will say I’m too soft and over sensitive!
  • They will consider my viewpoints and concerns and be mindful when offering a contrary viewpoint. Disagreement between friends is acceptable, and it is more about how it is handled rather than the actual issue itself.
  • They will continue to say what they want and not be bothered about what I think. It is my issue if I take offence or disagreement with what they say.

I can still make my own viewpoint on whether I see that person as a good friend who is concerned about my view and reception of their words, or whether I see them as someone who doesn’t make that distinction and still states them anyway.

The dilemma then is whether I accept them as being like that, whether I challenge them on the approach, or whether I sideline myself and adjust how I am for them too. The acceptance question raises up the action options for me on what I am happy to accept from them.

No one should put up with being not thought of. No one should put up with their feelings not considered. No one should put up with that. You have options. Treat yourself well. Decide what you will put up with.

Two way highway

As I said earlier on, understand that this is a two way thing. Look to see how you treat people too. Do you give people the same consideration too? Are you in danger of being an acquaintance to someone you think of as a friend? Don’t sideline yourself through lack of thought. No one should put up with that. You have options. Treat others well. Decide what others should have to put up with too.

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