Find the differences #3: taking sides

I was talking with a good friend about comfort zones, and the discussion got heated (each of us sort of got kicked out of their comfort zone 😀 ). I later thought at how we talked, and found two sentences I want to compare in this post:

  1. “It’s common that people disagree with you about something”
  2. “It’s common that people disagree with you about something, but when this happens between us, I try my best to understand your points and discuss fairly”

The first form of the sentence is the one I hear most often. What hurts me is that it is not clear if the person means that it happens with anyone, including your closest friends, partner(s), and family. I can’t resign to that!

Source: tumblr

The first sentence implies the side taken by the other person, so if it is a person close to me, they probably imply they are on my side. There are times when the other person sides with you, and some where they disagree so deeply that they can’t – and I really need to know it. Guessing would be dangerous, or unneccessarily cautious!

I see “taking sides” as deciding whether to fight someone else’s opinion, or to examine it together. I assume that parents are always on their children’s side: I mean, they try their best to examine the children’s opinions in a clear but calm fashion, rather than fighting them like dogs’ bad habits (or horse vices). I am horrified at the thought of children (of any age) not having parents “on their side”, therefore having to prepare for a mental war with them, where they actually could lose.

It is not yet about the positions about a topic – it is a promise that the discussion will not turn into a lawyer’s outwitting challenge. Both parts promise not to exploit the other’s weaknesses in speech, emotions, and coherence. I am aware that it is not the default for the majority of people I meet randomly in the city, but I want it to be a clear agreement with the people I consider close to me. To put it in positive terms: we agree on sharing our ideas in a safe environment, where issues and divergences are discussed with respect and honesty.

(Thinking about it further, it is really difficult to “be on the same side” of a person with deeply different opinions on many topics, and that makes me think that it’s unlikely that this person will ever be among my close friends; anyway, I try to extend safe discussing habits to all discussions.)


Spring morning with squirrel

It was a fresh spring morning, a bit cold, the sun shining over the trees. I arrived at the meeting place half an hour in advance and stood outside the gate in silence, looking around.

At some point a red squirrel approached jumping from tree to tree, saw me, looked more disappointed than scared, then resumed its jumping, climbing and watching around. I followed it with my eyes and ears (it made short scratch noises when its claws grasped the hollow bark of the pines) until it hopped away of my sight.

I quietly stood some more time, watching occasional little chirping birds. At some point Sabine’s car turned around the corner. She waved driving past me, and parked a little further down the street. There was still some time before everyone showed up. Sabine walked towards me and we greeted each other. She said that she drove past Andi walking, but didn’t give him a lift as she knew he prefers to walk. We basked in the light of the sun gently rising and enjoyed the moment of quietness before the start of the meeting.

Few moments after, Andi appeared at the end of the street. We smiled at each other and I watched him getting closer. Few metres from Sabine and me, he stopped square and watched intently up a tree. He mouthed to us: There’s a squirrel! and smiled while watching it hopping and running along branches. Sabine and I, who couldn’t see the squirrel, observed him with a slight smile. His awe and curiosity were so pure that he looked like a child.

When the squirrel jumped away of his sight, Andi turned to us with a big smile and walked towards us. We greeted each other with soft affection, as usual. In these occasions, I feel that we three are special to each other, as we have the same way of looking at the world with deep attention and admiration.

Source: Flickr

(inspired by this Tumblr post)