Wednesday, June 25, 2014

I have read and agree with YOU'RE WRONG

If you've spent any time whatsoever on the social part of the interwebs, you have without a doubt stumbled across this truth about human nature:

People suck at agreeing.

You've seen it happen. I'd even wager that you've seen it happen several times. It goes like this: someone writes something, and someone else disagrees with it. Or, rather, they agree with 96% of it, and disagree with this one particular detail. And they proceed to tell the world that they, in fact, disagree with these 4%, and will fight anyone who challenges them. Including the original author.

Now, if you get into a fight with someone you agree 96% with, you're doing it wrong.

The reason for this happening is that only the disagreement is communicated. All that other stuff is simply understood as going without saying, and is thus left unsaid. And is thus not a part of the conversation, leading to the interaction being all about those four lousy percent.

People suck at agreeing. This is why.

In order to avoid getting in to this same situation ourselves (or, at least, to mitigate the risk of getting in to them), it is advisable to communicate this ratio between agreeing and disagreeing. Which can be done with something as simple as saying "I agree with just about everything you've said, and appreciate you've taken the time to say it, but I wonder about this one aspect" or something to the same effect. Whatever wordage is appropriate to communicate that the disagreement is a minor one, and that this is not an invitation to a fight.

If it is a subtle point, you might find that it takes quite the wordage to expound the disagreement over it. Which might lead you to calculate this extra reaffirment of agreement as an unnecessary expense of energy. To which I reply: it might be. It might also be less energy that getting in to a fight. It might, moreover, also be an indication that it is a proper moment to just say "+1" and move on to other things.

 Agreeing is harder than it looks. Don't you agree?

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