Disagreeing with friends

I had a roomate in college one year who I would describe as disagreeable. They would often disagree with me about fairly trivial things, and then we would end up arguing. Strangely enough, I look back fondly on our arguing. Since we were arguing about trivial things, it soon became clear we were doing it more for entertainment than for any high stakes.

All this arguing also had a great secondary effect: it increased our confidence speaking our mind with each other. Normal roomate disagreements were easy to handle and resolve amicably, because we knew it was safe for us to disagree. In other roomate situations, I’ve sometimes gotten stuck behind a shield of politeness, which makes it hard to discuss touchy subjects for fear of disturbing the peace.

I’ve noticed a similar pattern with other friends of mine. In general, I find it easier to get close with people I have some significant difference in beliefs with. To me, the more important quality in a friend isn’t what they specifically believe, but their openness to other points of view and their ability to handle disagreements well. Some points are easier to make in chart form, so check it out:

With those who have different beliefs than me, disagreements are naturally more likely to occur, so I can sooner discover how open-minded someone is. Once we’ve established the trust that we can disagree and still get along, I feel like I can reveal more of myself to a friend. So it’s precisely those sites of disagreement where we build trust that our friendship can transcend our differences.

Do you disagree with your friends? Are your friends open-minded? Do you like to argue a bit for fun? Let me know your thoughts at my Ctrl-C email: gome ​@ ​ctrl-c.club.