Vignettes on Aging – Civility

Do you cringe every time you see a social media post that turns into a huge attack on the people who respond? What begins as an honest opinion or perception or even a comment about the weather can quickly turn into a massive hate fest with accusations, name calling, and horrific put downs.

Since when does disagreeing with someone mean you have to hate that person? Can’t we disagree but still be friends? Or can’t we just agree to disagree with a point of view and get on with life?

Being civil requires compromise, however, compromising seems to be a dying art. “You feel that way, well, I feel this way, and I’m prepared to not even hear your reasons for why. We can just stay stuck and be PO’d at each other forever!”

Is it that by hearing someone’s point of view and – heaven forbid – even understanding it, we dilute the strength of our point of view and reasonings if they’re divergent?

Being civil appears to be a lost art, a lost cornerstone of our interactions and, therefore, the diversity of our relationships with others. Right and wrong, black and white, good and bad – these limitations seem to comprise more and more of how we operate in the world.

But be honest! A shift in this pattern of incivility begins with us. WE are the ones who can examine our responses and not support words that only serve to criticize or denigrate someone else. I’m likely to delete someone from my social media feed, not because we have differing viewpoints, but because they encourage a nasty retort to those whose argument they don’t share.