Originally Posted by milliondollarbbw
How do you deal with situations where you may not agree with the group consensus? Do you speak your mind, and be kind of alienated, or do you keep quiet, but risk being associated with viewpoints you don't believe in?
I don't find that speaking my mind alienates anyone unless my comments, posture or tone of voice comes off as rudeness, anger, superiority or self-righteousness.
I LOVE hearing other people's opinions, so I tend to assume that everyone loves to hear mine. And I guess that assumption makes all the difference, because I often discuss extremely controversial topics even with virtual strangers at times, and everyone seems to be having a great time.
I think the key is sharing your opinion in a way that doesn't bash the other person's opinion (even if you secretly want to).
Part of my training as a mental health professional and as a probation officer included learning to appear sympathetic, even when I couldn't feel sympathetic (and oddly pretending to be sympathetic actually makes you more sympathetic. I guess acting "as if" can make it true). But as a result I learned to hide negative reactions.
I've learned that people usually don't care if you disagree with them, as long as you don't appear to be telling them outright that they're wrong (even if your statement essentially does just that by implication).
"I can see your point," or some other positive acknowledgment of their opinion is a wonderful opening for stating a disagreeing opinion. Often you can say almost anything after the "but", as long as it's not overtly hostile.
With friends, over time, when you've proven that you're not judgemental of opinions you disagree with, you can even drop a lot of the "diplomacy" statements. In my experience, eventually, you can even say "you're wrong," and get into heated debates without offending, because they know you do respect their opinions (and they've come to respect yours).
The key is in learning to share your opinions without hostility or judgement. Even when hostility and judgement seem to be the appropriate response.