For the past few weeks, my pieces have focused on investing and the personal finance side of Three Action Thursday. Today’s piece will be about one of our other principles, building authentic relationships, and specifically the importance of building them across a diverse group of people.
Growing up as a military kid, I moved every two or three years. Without much time between moves, I needed to be a quick judge of character while searching for friends. To be successful in friend-making, I often had to meet a lot of people before settling in. While I somehow always found a good core group, I also ended up with a lot of looser relationships as well. I quickly realized that these relationships have significant value and to maintain these relationships I often had to take neutral public stances on issues. In high school, these issues may have included favorite sports teams or my opinions on various school subjects/teachers.
Skip ahead to adulthood and I find myself maintaining many of those same habits. There is a lot of pressure these days to take a public stance on various issues (politics, the coronavirus, Black Lives Matter, etc.). It seems like every day someone in my various social media feeds is threatening to unfriend/unfollow everyone on one side of an issue or the other. The media takes advantage of this by sensationalizing topics that divide us in order to get us to continue giving them our attention.
Ultimately, opinions are something you HAVE, not something you ARE. So, I am publicly declaring: “I’m Switzerland.” I want the freedom to listen to both sides of the argument, to not be judged by a single one of my own opinions, and therefore ostracized or unfriended in real life or on social media. Additionally, I want the option to continue to love people – to love people for who they are, whether or not I agree with their opinions. I honestly believe by taking a public stance I may be limiting my ability to love someone who holds an opposite opinion because they will choose to distance themselves from me.
Don’t get it twisted: I have opinions, and in the right forum I am happy to share them. But publicly, I’m staying neutral.
I’m choosing love.
- Audit your friends and contacts. Are you in an echo chamber? You may need to broaden your relationships to include those with opposing positions to yours.
- Have you ever felt defined by an opinion you hold, either by yourself or by others? Do you feel nervous to share your thoughts and opinions with others? If so, have you found a group of people that you can safely share those things with? Find an outlet.
- Do you think my Switzerland tactic is a good one? Let me know why or why not by email or in the 3AT Facebook group. I’d love to hear your thoughts!**