In a world where no one shares the same opinion about anything…

And everyone thinks they are right…

Does it annoy people more when someone says”I agree to disagree”?

Do you think that some people just want to keep hammering their point home? (and yes- I can totally be accused of this, so you can prosecute me with all the rest of them. It will be a pretty big trial)

I know someone- they may or may not be a parental figure- who will bring up the same thing every conversation- they will couch it in different ways- but the underlying sentiment is the same.

I think it annoys this person more when I say- “I don’t want to discuss this topic.” I think some people become irrational when they hear this. I have pissed off liberals. conservatives, democrats, republicans, libertarians, green party….I am a full service annoyer…

As a rule, I try to avoid discussing politics, religion and money. (FYI- if you think some of the things I’ve discussed are politics- I’ll agree to disagree)

One person I know says that they “Want to hear my opinion”

There is nothing wrong with wanting to hear someone’s opinion: but here is what I’ve found to happen:

  1. They don’t actually listen to what you are saying: they are preparing a response in their head that may or may not address what you’ve stated
  2. They are prepared to argue against you with “facts”
  3. They will tell you that your “sources” are wrong. (Last week someone discredited the Wall Street Journal as a news source, and told me that a quote I obtained from watching a live interview was “not what the guy meant to say”)
  4. They assume that if you are conservatives or liberal on one issue, that you will strongly abide my that sides “take” on everything, not thinking that you could be a one from column A, one from column B sort of person
  5. Even if you agree with them on a certain point, they will hammer away with why the other side is “wrong”…

I love to argue, debate and discuss.

I do like to get people passionate about an argument.

But the things I most like to discuss are the things that have no answer- they can’t be fed into a computer with some binary code which spits out 0 or 1

Do you want to play a game? (a point to anyone who can name this reference)

Should people write memoirs? There is no yes or no to this question- only discussion.

Should major corporations set out to solve the problems of the world? Again- there is no right or wrong answer- there is just opinion.

But just because something can’t be answered doesn’t mean it can’t be discussed…

But we seem to not be allowed to discuss anything anymore. We have become a society of YES or NO.


Things must be unilateral…

Isn’t that boring- everyone being exactly the same?

I know I have annoyed people when I counter their arguments with things they can’t refute- or given them a plausible opposing statement. Or said the words- “Is this the best way to spend time, resources and money?”. Just because something is a good idea doesn’t mean it’s a good idea right now

Timing is everything they say…

I have used the phrase “I agree to disagree” more times in the past year than I ever have before. And I think I’ve really annoyed a bunch of people with this statement. Because I don’t want to discuss politics or religion or money. And I am not willing to say that people are stupid and that “those other people” are wrong.

I am really trying my hardest to look at all sides of an issue…

And I agree to disagree with anyone who doesn’t.

102 thoughts on “Agree to Disagree

  1. But just because something can’t be answered doesn’t mean it can’t be discussed…

    Now that’s the perfect summation of a liberal arts college education. As for people who won’t discuss something, I shrug and walk away. I’m curious, they aren’t– there’s nowhere to go in the relationship.

    Liked by 6 people

      1. Me too. But you realize our kind of behavior is off-putting to many people who don’t like to or will not think critically. Doesn’t stop me, of course– kind of encourages me, truth be known. 😈

        Liked by 1 person

    1. The last of four kids just graduated from an old liberal arts college a few years ago. I fear that the ability to discuss matters of import was under attack her entire four years. Students, teachers and speakers were bullied into silence on major issues of the day..horrible, scary trend, esp in education.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Same when I went. I was a political science major.. arguing was our lifeblood. Now it’s all about conforming..or else. My daughter wrote for the school paper.. it made me a nervous wreck. It was really eye opener for me, for sure.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. My daughters college is actually fairly well represented by both sides of the aisle…helps to be in DC. She’s seen/heard politicians and speakers from all different sides. But she almost went to Hopkins which is known for their equanimity on talking both sides of the aisle.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. It probably didn’t help that my daughter arrived just prior to an was crazy town..screaming down speakers, admin sit ins, boycotts.. this was the birth of the whole safe space I need to be protected from another opinion..

        Liked by 1 person

      4. And she didn’t apply to Columbia because they are well known for their my way or the highway approach. On the tour she asked our guide the worst thing about the school, and that’s what he said. He said there’s one voice and you’re with them or against them

        Liked by 2 people

      5. I know. Education means learning that all issues have many sides. Though my favorite story at Columbia was the panel discussion. They had a bunch of recent alumnae on stage who were there to discuss what their take always were. One girl said that the biggest problem she faced was that everyone she met said they needed an encyclopedia to have a conversation with her because her thoughts were so abstract and esoteric they couldn’t keep up with her. No lie

        Liked by 1 person

  2. War Games. Sadly not everyone is willing to agree to disagree and sadly not everyone believes other people have the right to disagree. We are seeing the proof of that in the news every day as the newly elected radical left seeks revenge against anyone who voted for Trump, doesn’t believe in multiple genders, wants free markets, etc, etc, etc. And they don’t plan to back down. I’ve been reading a lot of history lately. I wish more people would. Good luck to all of us!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. 1 point for the reference and multiple points for what you speak. I’m reading an excellent historical fiction novel about Germany in 1931. Do you know the nazis shut down businesses because the people were different?

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Which novel?I just got an actual 1945 public school history textbook and ordered another one that goes up to 1920. This book is extremely pro-global government. It definitely speaks of the UN in glowing utopian terms.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree to actually agree with your points here. What’s happened is, we have become an information society that dines a la carte. People pick and choose what they prefer, and they discard the rest of it. This is why there is such a narrow avenue for discourse.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That’s a great way of phrasing it. Someone I know read an article and honed in on one sentence and disregarded the rest. How is that getting the gist of what’s being said?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It’s what has happened. I was watching a video where Ben Shapiro was breaking down Game Stop. Someone noticed and said “You like that guy?”

        Now, Shapiro is a conservative voice who I do listen to now and then. Agree with ? Not so much. But the guy’s smart and knows what he’s talking about. And the Game Stop video was both interesting and funny.

        This person painted me in a corner for watching a video.

        That’s where we find ourselves.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Right? And the smugness….oh…I would never watch that channel. While I agree that I don’t watch that channel at all except for the Sunday news magazine thing, it doesn’t mean that they’re not allowed a POV. And it’s not all racist and homophobic. It’s bad to typecast people based on one thing.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Of course. But we’re too sensible, I think.

        I used to watch Shepard Smith when he was on Fox. My liberal friends would be like, how can you watch that guy? And then Smith started speaking out against Trump and my conservative father said, how can you watch that guy?

        It’s hilarious.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Omg I know!! Besides the fact that reporters are supposed to report the fact without opinion. Hence why papers had an editorial page and an op Ed. Thinking we need that again

        Liked by 3 people

      5. That was the moment I knew I had to start talking about compromise and listening to others. When you smother the voice of the opposition you have tyranny. Especially when the opposition is being rational and Logical

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I see too much of that irrationality on both sides of the aisle, and it really disturbs me. When i met the girl who would become my wife, I was a young Republican. Throughout our time together, we had debates and we had friends who were both liberal and conservative. Nobody got hurt. It was disagreement, it wasn’t personal. And over time I learned a lot, I changed a lot. And I would like to think I grew a lot.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. I try to tell people that my democratic mayor ain’t such a great guy either, and has been doing a lousy job for 8;years. This is a little factoid about having any one side have too much of an advantage. Only three percent if New Yorkers voted in the primary which picked the mayor. And there is no valid republican side here. This is a problem

        Liked by 1 person

      8. His response to everything has been less than perfect. And the hypocrisy… you know he was almost indicted on financial misinformation but the case was dropped (there are rumors how it was dropped but that’s just gossip)

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I just recently found your blog thanks to Ally Bean. So many good blogs I have found from her comment section, by the way.
    Any person who quotes War Games is immediately my friend. Love that movie.
    “Agree to disagree.” feels like a very polite “you’re wrong, I am right.”

    I agree with you on a discussion. There needs to be less right and wrong; yes and no. More, “can we talk this out further”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What would suggest as a phrasing if you find yourself in a “no win” argument (hence the war games reference😉) I find that sometimes I can’t extricate myself from a discussion

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ME TOO. And I always find myself in these situations in real life. So it makes it even more awkward. Gah.

        On social media? I tend to walk away. I left Facebook in August for many reasons. Getting into discussions that were mind-numbing was one of them. 😂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I know! It’s so hard! Especially with family who want to rope you in no matter what! I’ve never been an avid Facebooker, but now I only look,at it for groups about books or my daughters college

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I loved War Games! I use that line all the time. Unfortunately, not too many people know it anymore. Lol

    I also use The “agree to disagree” line ALL the time. I first try to discuss or debate an issue but when I see the other person is unwilling to even acknowledge the possibility that I may have another way of thinking, then I know there’s no point in continuing on. Some people are just not able to debate. I always acknowledge the positives in someone else’s arguments or POV. And then bring up the areas in which I see as not feasible. Because nothing is usually black or white. But when you talk to certain people who can’t see both sides it’s like talking to a wall. So rather than calling them a complete jerk, you say we will agree to disagree. Because you know you’ll never ever agree.

    During the last four years we’ve seen people try to push outrageous ideology in our faces. Leaders and representatives spouting made up theories as facts. And then their blind followers recite the same rhetoric as if it were an exact science. However they have no concrete evidence to support their findings. And that bugs the heck out of me.

    You know, when you take a class in public speaking or debate you gather facts. Facts of which you can prove AND show your sources. At least, up until four years ago you could do this. So yeah, when you deal with craziness it’s safer to say the agree to disagree line. Which by the way, used to be a really great alternative when trying to compromise. These days I tend to use it when I really want to tell some individuals to go …..jump in the lake. 😉

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Excellent points as always. But…I’ve seen both sides be stuck in their lane without even beginning to think about other points of view. Extremists are bad. Period. I’ve had an equal amount of disagreements with liberals as well as conservatives. I also used the exact same statistic to prove a point with a liberal and a conservative who had opposing views, so we know anything can be manipulated. I had a conversation with someone last week who was soooo trying to say I was wrong that by the end of the discussion I was able to say “yeah. That was my point in the first place” because she ended her argument with the EXACT thing I started with.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. truth, fact, fiction, reliable sources, active thinking, attention to what’s being said…If the very definitions as stated in a basic reference text like a dictionary are considered ‘not correct’ and disregarded there is no foundational frame from which to structure a conversation of ‘topic’. And I think many just fuse truth, fact, fiction, anything that’s ‘posted in social media’ as being the same weight in terms of correctness/fact. Too many kindergarten voices clamoring to be heard and not ‘playing well in the sandbox’…
    I used to think that if ‘the people just knew the reality of what was going on in fill-in-the-blank’ it’d lead to an obvious conclusion that we need to address concerns and come up with solutions agreeable to all….
    Just my old hippie 60’s idealism dying hard.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m a 9 on the Enneagram, a peacekeeper by nature, and as a true 9, I avoid conflict like the plague (couldn’t resist). I have to actively work at finding and offering my voice because I’ll bend it rather than offend. I’ll have a real discussion if I feel safe, meaning you won’t dump me if I disagree with you, and that seems rare these days. C

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s funny because I’m quite non confrontational with my husband and daughter. I try to figure out a way to compromise because I think familial fights can turn nasty and venture into territory that shouldn’t never be traversed. However….I will discuss anything at anytime with anyone

      Liked by 1 person

  8. There are no such things as absolutes outside of theory. There will ALWAYS be situations or pieces that simply cannot fit into the absolute of any “side” or argument. (And yes, I do see the irony in the fact that I stated that as an absolute) The problem comes when people refuse to admit to that. The world is not binary. It is not two-tone black and white. And the world is ever changing. Just because something seemed to be one way one day, doesn’t mean it won’t look different tomorrow. When you entrench yourself in concrete, you are incapable of growth. I’m not a huge fan of arguing and debating, but a big part of why is because almost always the other person is looking to win or prove themselves as being right instead of genuinely having a conversation about a topic and being willing to hear and take on board what the other person is saying. I will often avoid conversations that I can see from the outset will end up in that “agree to disagree” area because it is unnecessarily stressful and doesn’t resolve anything.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I find there are people I can have a healthy debate with, but they are people who listen with an open mind. I get defensive when people are clearly not listening to what I’m saying or who are so stuck in their way they can’t be reasonable. I blocked my mother and sister on Facebook (they are opposite ends) because both were so ridiculous I’m was embarrassed to be related to either of them. But we need to learn how to debate properly about everything

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I enjoy a good debate and unfortunately there aren’t many people who do. My daughter gets very elevated. My dad says “BS!” if I bring up a story that he has heard nothing about — because he only watches one channel. I try to have a well-rounded approach to news media. You have to if you want to know what’s going on. My son is the only one I can have a good conversation with because we are both willing to listen to each other’s point of views with open minds. We learn from each other. I discovered we agree on more than we disagree. Before I moved, I told one of my swim friends and neighbors that we sold our house. He asked, “Where are you moving to?” I told him. He was appalled. “I hate to scare you, but that town has a lot of Republicans!” I laughed and said, “I don’t care what party people belong to.”

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s truly frightening. My kids are Bernie supporters and call themselves socialists. They are both appalled at the censorship that’s going on. Did you hear about the children’s literary agent who got fired because someone tweeted to the boss that she had an account on Parler? The agent never discussed politics or posted anything but writing tips. A good book to read is “Red Scarf Girl” about the Cultural Revolution in China. It’s a true story, written for young adults and I see so many parallels to today.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. No one is innocent anymore. They’re guilty by association. No trial. Just accusation with nothing to back it up. It’s truly scary. My blog, your blog could be shut down instantly and we have no defense. That’s not how a republic stands up

        Liked by 1 person

      1. With “sweetness and light!” Well, that would be the goal anyway. I try not to burn any bridges. You can show respect for others without agreeing with them if you stay calm.

        Liked by 2 people

  10. Great post, LA. One of the reasons I love your blog is you ask great questions, and they are not binary in there answers. It reminds of me of the leadership paradox. If as a leader you are always looking for the “right” or “wrong” answer, you will be stuck often. It works for everyone in life, regardless of leadership aspirations. It is in the grey area of life where many of the wonders, or jewels are found.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Why cant we just be ourselves? State our opinion and than respect and listen to others opinions. We aren’t always right. We aren’t always wrong. We need to remember we are all unique individuals. We sometimes forget this.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I will comment only on the question of corporations fixing the worlds problems. I believe that corporations need to be responsible for the problems they create instead of passing it on to the public/consumer. If their business creates a product then they need to take care of the entire life of the product. If you make something cheaply and it doesn’t last long and there is no way to get rid of it other than a landfill, then they have created more problems than they are worth. That is why the zero waste movement started it is supposed to be the corporation not the consumer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What if I told you that Apple specifically designed the iPhone box so that it took 4 seconds to open which was the amount of time researchers said gave the buyer if the new phone the maximum amount of pleasure and excitement?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I would say that they are researching the wrong ideas. Apple has designed some of it’s products to have lower battery life, can only repair the products (replace batteries for instance) at their facilities, new mac books require new cords as the old ones won’t fit the new ones etc. Now they are not the only tech company that does this, but they are a perfect example of how they get customers to buy the next thing instead of encouraging consumers to use their products for a long life span.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yet…Tim Cook wants to solve some of the problems of the world. Direct quote from an interview I watched. I wanted to see what others thought of this, which is why I asked the question. FYI…the box thing…my sources say that is correct

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Your approach to discussion on this blog is always admirable. I’ve been learning a bit lately on how to have a talk with someone who’s ideas differ from mine, but haven’t really had much opportunity to put it into effect. Part of it is knowing that no matter how good a listener I may be, or how well I might draw out their thought processes, some people will just be lazy thinkers, spouting nonsense they get from whatever influencer they choose to follow. If they eschew logic, I tend to just give it up as a waste of time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I try to be down the middle of the road but it’s hard. I had a discussion with someone recently who, in trying to prove me wrong, actually circled back and stated my hypothesis….

      Liked by 1 person

  14. The drive for an empirical right or wrong is exhausting. I love a discussion, I enjoy learning, and examining old learnings and ideas from a different angle. I’d a friend who I used to have lengthy daily discussions with – what we called data mining – when we’d share what we already knew, ask questions of each other, and return to the subject matter as and when we’d learned more. It was all hugely enjoyable. Unfortunately, when he got to a point when he believed he knew what was right, there was no room for any other viewpoint.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think politics, religion and money are issues that are generally undiscussable. People have their beliefs and they aren’t wavering. The problem is we’ve all branched out into having beliefs instead of opinions. That’s a hard road

      Liked by 1 person

  15. While I don’t keep my head in the sand like an ostrich, I don’t like politics. We are a household that have differing views on the present situation which I will not let divide us. The rule here is that we encourage learning of another side’s viewpoint, but each can have their own. And it works here.

    But out in the world, that’s another story. I have all sorts of friends with different political views. I usually stay neutral and listen until they begin to get on the soapbox and preach at me, insisting that their point of view is the only correct one. That’s when I politely excuse myself off the phone.

    I like to listen to all sides of a situation with someone who likes to discuss it in a give and take manner and process it. Let’s work together to see what’s going on and what’s the best solution (and that’s with any subject really). But there are those who can’t do this – adamantly refuse to do it – and they’re the ones that I have a tough time with these days.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m with you! Let’s discuss it and figure it out. And let’s stop shifting our focus to little things, and let’s work on the big issues


  16. Let’s face it. After reading this, ‘I agree to disagree’ now has a beautiful ring to it. It was in some sense… so sarcastically timed, that it’s now the best phrase on the internet.

    I was reading lots of different blog post before I came to you, and going from a straight face to seeing out of nowhere ‘you can prosecute me’ was very hilarious. It was like a long road of similar to serious, neutral tones, to sarcasm and humour. It was the perfect thing to read on a night when I just want to sit and avoid doing anything else but read.

    And I agree, everyone being the same really is boring.

    And yes, ‘just because something is a good idea, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea right now’

    Being careful can’t always be thrown out the door.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. This phrase has kept my best friend and I best friends for many years. I listen to her, give her a few counterpoints, then we just move on to something else after both agreeing, usually after I’ve been the one to state it, that everybody’s entitled to his/her own opinion.

    I was shocked, though, when I found out on FB recently that one of my favorite librarians was and kind of still is basically a Trumper. She and I had a bit of a go-around when I expressed my shock and sad surprise at what I thought was her unenlightened and close-minded attitude. In the end, I also smoothed that over by just agreeing to disagree because she also posts some good animal comics and beautiful and soothing English garden-type images. I also didn’t say anything when I dug into a TIME cover she’d posted titled The Secret HIstory of the Shadow Campaign that Saved the 2020 Election. I’ll admit to not having read the entire article. I don’t know if she read any of it but the clear intention was to suggest that it had been stolen. I didn’t get that at all from what I read so…

    War Games is also one of my favorite movies, though I don’t remember that a lot of good lines, maybe some that I even use, came from it. I just enjoyed the characters and how they handled the situation, young and naive as we and they were then.

    I am also curious in the way you are. When Mom is “curious” though, it’s just another term for nosy!

    Liked by 1 person

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