When should we be contradictory?

July 13, 2010

Last week I read a post, not one I follow and I didn’t agree with person’s opinion.  It’s not like they said something that offended me, I simply disagreed with their example.  I wanted to politely comment and give my reasons why but I didn’t.   

Why not?

I didn’t want to come off arrogant.  Because I AM NOT, but you don’t know me and my comment could have been misconstrued that way.

I didn’t want to be the one person in the group that didn’t gush with praise for the brilliance in the examples.

I didn’t want to be the one person in the group to point out the flaws in their example.  It was a “show don’t tell” post and I counted five tells in their show.  Plus there were several descriptions of other things in their “show example” that were irrelevant descriptions thus slowing down the scene.  Nice descriptive shows but their irrelevance pulled me away from the importance of the scene.

So I ask you, when should we be contradictory?  I’m not talking about Negative Ninnies, just making points to the contrary in a unkind way.  I’m of the Southern Polite Sensibilities; “If you can’t say something nice, keep your mouth shut.”  (or that’s my version of it) Most of the time I agree with that statement because being unnecessarily contradictive makes you sound like a miserable person all together.  When I am asked my opinion, I’m politely honest even if I disagree, keeping my thoughts to a sentence or two.  

This particular post did not ask my opinion and what I had to say would have been lengthy to explain my reasoning.  I felt pretty passionate about my thoughts and opinions and wanted to share them but I didn’t.  In the end I asked myself what was the point.  If I don’t find this information/blog to further my writing, simply don’t follow.  The End.

But it doesn’t end there because it bugs me I couldn’t wouldn’t speak my thoughts.  I don’t want to be the person who always agrees but I don’t want contrary either.

What would you do?

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  1. Ohhhhhhh...this is a meaty subject. For the most part I'm like you, would rather say nothing than anything negative (or contrary). I justify the silence by telling myself that my fellow bloggers should recognize that a good portion of the information gleemed out here in the internet is alot like Wikipedia ... well-intentioned, but inaccurate or opinionated.

    I commend you for feeling conflicted about your actions, but I wouldn't have done anything different.

  2. I would have done the same thing. I think it's especially hard to write things online. We may be just offering our side, but it can be read differently. They might hear sarcasm or arrogance in our voice when, really, we're just being polite.

  3. I think it depends on many things: the depth of my disagreement, my mood at the time, how well I know the person and how they handle disagreements. Like all difficult decisions in life, it's situational and in the end you have to go with your gut.

    Remember, Jesus faced the same issue. He settled on "Agree quickly with thine enemy." So there are all kinds of opinions on this. You'll pick the right one for yourself.

  4. I think it's okay to give your opinion as long as your respectful and state your point well. Were all learning and maybe the person writing the post might have a appreciated a little more knowledge - show don't tell is sometimes hard to grasp.

  5. Hi Dana! It's been awhile since I've visited and I've missed your blog. The closer I get to age 40, the more I realize how quirky I am. But I actually enjoy when someone pulls something out of one of my posts that makes me squirm. It challenges me to think in ways in which I'm not wired. I completely relate with you when it comes to southern manners. Those Yankees bring out the rebel in me and sometimes it IS hard to smile and swallow the words. However, there are ways to politely disagree, and I sure do enjoy a good discussion from all points of view. Great post!

  6. When I am in that situation I usually say what it is I think, and then I'll add something nice and positive about their writing at the end.

    It's bitter sweet, but still much better than just bitter.

  7. Since this wasn't a blog you usually followed, I would have done just like you, of course, it would have also mattered about the subject. If it had been bad mouthing my country, families, and advocating terrorism, I probably would have left a comment, but from your comments, the subject matter didn't fall into these catagories. The thing about blogging, from my perspective, is I write about what's on my mind, usually my followers are like minded people. So I would have to agree with what you did.

  8. Hey guys! Thanks for your comments. Sorry it took me a week to reply but vacation keeps me from the computer. Glad to know I'm not the only one who keeps my contradictory thoughts to myself. Those who do speak out... May your bravery rub off on me.


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