December 11, 2012 by Vicki
In this post, I will further explore the conflicts caused by different perspective. I have a friend who has a very different perspective from my own. She holds a very traditional, religious, perspective while I focus on issues and concerns that threaten society, not morality. I try to remain aware that different people have different perspectives and have the right to those perspectives. I am, however, extremely sensitive to discussions about abuse of children or animals, the subjugation of women, and threats to personal freedoms. My friend, on the other hand, does not seem to be aware that her words have meaning beyond just “oh, this is my opinion.” She has not learned that when she states an opinion, she enters into a larger scale conversation. When her opinions touch on my sensitive topics, we tend to have explosions.
I do not believe that my friend is cruel or violent. I believe that she tries to be the very best human being that she can be. She is one of the most loving people I know. Our different perspectives, however, make it extremely difficult to have conversations and understand one another.
I know that these same problems can develop between blood relatives, or on a larger scale, between nations. My problem is how do I breach the gap between her perspective and mine so that we can continue our friendship in understanding and trust? How does a person deal with a perspective of another, which they find offensive. They don’t find the person offensive, just the person’s perspective. To take this out of the personal, for a moment, how does a liberal person deal with a racist, but beloved, relation? How does a democratic nation handle relations with a friendly dictator state? Or, how does a dictator state handle a friendly democratic nation? What means can be used to successfully navigate these opposing perspectives to ensure a prosperous relationship?
My friend and I did not talk for an extended period of time. We could not find a way to communicate through or around our differing viewpoints, and so lost the ability to continue our friendship. We have reconnected, and I do not wish to lose this friendship again. I believe that we are good for each other. I do not know, however, how to proceed. Is silence the answer? Do I simply not converse with my friend on issues I know we differ on? What constraints does this place upon our friendship? Could it even be called a “friendship” with such restrictions? I realize that I have asked more questions then I have answered, but I still seek for the means of resolving this issue. How have you handled close relationships that had opposing perspectives? What answers have you found through trial and error to the questions that I have posed?