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opinions1   We all see life and the world as a whole from different angles and points of views. We have different families, tribes, languages, cultures, religions, norms and creeds. Our thumb prints are not alike and there are no two of the same kind. This makes everybody unique in their own way. Every social sector in life is made up of people in social groups or organisations, be it religious bodies, business organisations, schools, markets etc. No matter the body you belong to, you’ll have to work with people to achieve a common goal as far as the organisation is concerned. The only thing in common with most people in a group or organisation is the goal. Meetings are bound to happen and there will be brainstorming sessions, where everyone wants to be heard and have their ideas possibly adhered to. Arguments are bound to occur, which is not often productive in terms of moving forward and producing results. So how can one strike a balance or know where to draw the line? Below are ways to handle people with different opinions. Be empathic: Learn to see and understand people differently. Having a sense of empathy makes you see things from their own point of view. After all, they say variety is the spice of life. This singular act will also make one see life differently, as no one person is always right. Welcome every opinion: It is very ethical to welcome everyone’s opinion, even if it won’t be implemented in the end. Every opinion should at least be heard and welcomed as it shows you value that individual or group. Welcoming opinions also creates a level of self-satisfaction for people. Learn from different opinions: See people’s opinion as an avenue to learn new things in life. We can’t know it all, most times it is ideal to keep quiet and learn while other people air out their thoughts. When you welcome and accept the fact that people have different views about life and not everyone agrees with your terms and beliefs, it leads to peace and progress. Relate don’t argue: One very important way to handle people with different opinions is to avoid any form of argument and choosing to instead discuss with them. Arguments are very counterproductive and can lead to conflict. With discussion, everyone speaks and their views are noted. This shows you respect whoever you are dealing with, as well as their values and creeds. Know when to draw the line: There are limits to almost everything in life. Limits can be used when it comes to dealing with people with different opinions. You should know when to keep calm or mute when a conversation has passed its boundaries. In this case, timing is imperative in order to avoid saying things that may lead to regret. Remember you can win an argument, but is it worth losing friends or colleagues? Opinions will always differ because we are human and see things differently. However, when you find yourself in a situation where opinions are clashing; be patient, mature and open to new ideas. Just use wisdom to strike a balance.

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This article was first published on 5th July 2014

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