maintain positive relationships

How to Maintain Positive Relationships

My favorite thing about people is that none of us are exactly the same. I love hearing people’s stories. I love connecting beyond the small talk. I love knowing what makes you tick, feeling your passion, and seeing your heart.

Passionate people make my heart sing! I’m genuinely interested in what you have to say. I learn the best stuff from people different from me, and I share energy with those who are similar.

The best thing I’ve learned in my adulthood is that those with different opinions actually aren’t all that different from me at the end of the day.

I take everything personally. I’m an ISFJ Myer’s Brigs personality type. You share your heart with me, and it will become my heart. You share your passion with me, and it will become my passion. I like you. My heart is open, and some of my deepest, most meaningful relationships are with people who are 100% different from me in every way possible on paper. Healthy debate is wonderful and powerful. But like with anything, there are fine lines.

positive relationships despite different opinions

How to maintain positive relationships with people with different opinions.

Find Respect.

It’s not our job to judge whether those around us are right or wrong. But human decency tells us that we should at least do our best to find respect for one another. Respecting people doesn’t mean you have to agree with them. And it definitely doesn’t mean you have to like them. But you should at least give people a chance to earn your respect. People might surprise you.

Listen.

What do you have to lose beyond a few “precious” minutes? But what could you stand to gain? Listening is a gateway to understanding. And understanding doesn’t mean you agree, but it brings things back to a human level. I will say this: I’ve listened to a lot of people, most with wildly different opinions from mine, and I’ve very rarely regretted it. In fact more often than not, a deep, meaningful respectful relationship has developed from it.

Find Empathy.

Can you say with confidence that just because you believe you are right that you know for certain they are wrong? I rely heavily on this thought practice: I have no right to tell someone else how to feel. I used to hate it when people would tell me not to feel how I felt. I can’t turn it off like a faucet and neither can they. I believe empathy is in all of us, you just have to give it a chance.

Agree to Disagree.

You can be friends with people you don’t agree with. Pushing to push or spewing hate is mean, ugly useless and unproductive. Not everything requires your comment, and sometimes your relationship should take priority over proving that you’re right. My favorite thing to do is agree to disagree. You have a right to your opinions, and you most certainly have a right to feel the way you do. And so do I.

I’m afraid we’ve forgotten how to talk to one another. I’m afraid we’ve lost sight of important things like healthy debate, intentional conversation, and human decency. But I haven’t lost hope. I like when people surprise me.

Surprise me.

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6 Comments

  1. Amanda

    November 10, 2016 at 6:49 am

    Great post and I identify with your Myers Brigs results. This is good timing considering the national unrest we are currently witnessing!

  2. Leslie

    November 10, 2016 at 11:21 am

    Our personality types are very similar! I’m an INFJ but I fluctuate on the N/S every time I’ve taken it. And it’s funny because my husband is almost the exact opposite except that we are both Introverts. Love this post 🙂 Especially right now.

  3. Leslie

    November 10, 2016 at 11:29 am

    Our personality types are so similar! I’m an INFJ but my N/S goes back and forth every time I take it. Funnily enough, my husband is the exact opposite except for the introvert part! I love this post – especially right now! 🙂

  4. chelsea jacobs

    November 10, 2016 at 1:30 pm

    Such a timely truth. You’re good at those!

  5. Kristin

    November 10, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    I took the Myers Briggs test last week. I got ISFJ too. That’s slightly ironic.

  6. kristen

    November 16, 2016 at 3:47 pm

    great post girl, and i am sorry for my belated comment. the most important one for me is agree to disagree. there are some things i cannot agree to disagree on, but for the most part, me arguing or trying to convince someone they are wrong will never work and it’s not worth it. sometimes it’s easier to walk away, healthier even. but more often than not, agreeing to disagree is healthy and good for relationships.

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