Who is Wrong, You or Your Friends?
February 10, 2023 9:00 AM EST | 6 min read
We have all been there, wondering who is wrong in a situation.
We live in a deeply divided nation, and this often means that we disagree with sensible people who simply think differently than us.
Too often, we hear:
On the other hand, you might receive total silence.
This leads to deeper divisions and painful separations between family and friends.
This should not be.
Below are some ideas on bringing peace to your situations when you are debating, “Who is wrong, me or my friends?”
Are all opinions equal?
In the years leading up to World War II and the attacks on Pearl Harbor, the president made decisions based on Navy operations.
He was the commander and chief.
His opinion was the only one that counted when decisions were being made regarding creating ships, recruiting sailors, and even how to protect our bases best.
Multiple times the president was warned about the dangers of a possible attack.
But he would not listen to the Admirals and others in the Navy.
Interestingly, FDR had no military experience short of anything he may have read about in books or seen in movies.
Regardless the president could not be swayed by experts of his day.
The disaster at Pearl Harbor and our entry into the war resulted.
Who is wrong, you or your friends?
Particularly when we are in positions of authority, it can be difficult to allow others the right to give us good advice and share wisdom.
There is a fear that if we change our minds, we will be a flip-flopper or weak leaders.
Authority does not instantly make us all wise, so we must learn to listen to others.
As the conflict arises, stop for a moment and decide if pride stops you from hearing your friends’ wise counsel.
For many years, I have worked with women escaping abusive situations.
Often they will return to their abuser despite pleadings and heartfelt recommendations to give it more time.
Friends point out the dangers and remind her of recent history, all with no result.
Without fail, a short season later, we hear that the abuse cycle has continued, sometimes with a vengeance.
It would have been good to take in the opinions of your friends.
When asking, “Who is wrong?”
Start by examining yourself and try to discover if pride is getting in the way of your hearing true wisdom.
Am I really ok with different?
Today there are strong opinions shared on social media.
I might be alone, but I feel my heart race and get excited when someone shares an opinion that matches my own.
However, I also feel a bit of angst and anger when an opinion that differs from mine shows itself.
I get particularly bugged when the opinion is being shared by a friend that I have usually seen as reasonable and friendly.
I wonder what clouded their judgment.
This all goes along inside of my head.
We all have opinions, and our lives and experiences have shaped us in ways we may not even be aware of.
In Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey shares a story about a disagreement with his wife over an appliance purpose.
When she was growing up, a local appliance company essentially saved her family from hunger and destitution.
Therefore, many years later, she still felt obligated to that company.
Knowing that these experiences shaped her opinion, he could better hear her side of the argument.
I have friends who fight for different thoughts and ideas.
I agree with some and disagree with others.
But instead of simply dismissing the other side as haters or unintelligent baboons, maybe we should stop and listen to their viewpoint and how they got there.
After all, can we be tolerant enough to say we disagree on this topic, but I care about you?
When asking, “Who is wrong?”
Maybe we should engage in a conversation of understanding first and honestly attempt to take in the emotion of others’ opinions fully.
Is this argument a world changer or temporary?
One day, as we were driving along, a full-scale battle emanated from the car’s back seat with screams of hate and vengeance and words of promises of justice.
My two sons were just five and three!
Yet, they were locked in a battle of wills over what turned out to be an empty candy wrapper.
For a short moment, they were ready to give up all future relationships for a piece of trash we would throw out, anyway.
I read a news story once where a young man was killed because he would not let his brother be the car in the board game Monopoly.
Too often, the things that we are getting all locked up on are not all that important.
However, it may seem like the world will end if I don’t get my way.
Many times as I help folks work through personal conflict.
We get to the point in the conversation about what the fight is all about.
Most of the time, the combatants cannot remember what it was about.
People come to blows over hearsay and often simply wrong reports.
When a battle is ensuing with someone that you know to be a reasonable individual, take a moment to consider what the fight is all about and does it matter.
I could not care less about how the toilet paper roll comes off the dispenser.
However, I care if someone in the house was respectful enough to ensure that the toilet paper was there when needed.
Look at the real issues and discuss those before deciding who is wrong
The temporary ones will pass away and won’t even be remembered next month.
When asking, “Who is wrong?”
We might want to examine the facts and decide whether this even really matters.
Relationships are a critical piece of our everyday existence.
From casual interaction with a checker at the local store to deep family relationships, our health as individuals and as a society largely depends on how we handle conflicts.
One of my best friends throughout high school was one I had gotten into a fistfight with in junior high school.
I don’t remember what the fight was about, but I can say this.
When we dismissed the issue and took the time to get to know one another, we could shape our future.
If we do this well, we can shape the future of many generations, sometimes, we might even save a life or two.
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