Awkward moments arise when someone makes fun of, or discredits, a thing which you enjoy.
Your circle of friends may begin vocally trashing a new song whilst not knowing that you quite like it. Without knowing your position on the matter, your significant other may vehemently exclaim their disdain for a certain politician or controversial news story.
We’re sometimes caught off guard by people who don’t suspect us to be holding a stake in something they seek to discredit and badmouth. Should we let them know of our opinion on the things which they discredit? If so, at what point should we do so?
This article looks to provide some clarity in regards to actionable steps to take when people unknowingly discredit something / someone that we like, enjoy, or respect.
Attempt to Mask Your Bias for As Long As Possible
You’ll have a few choices to make once a person makes their position against something you like, known. An issue with the choices you have to select from, is that some of them will be propelled by emotion to seem like correct actions to take.
For instance, if someone at a work meeting begins to badmouth a close colleague, and friend, of yours, a noble action to take at that juncture would be to come to your friend’s defense. In doing so, you’d be able to seemingly sway the minds of those who are listening to the dialogue, to be on your friend’s side. You’d perceive yourself to stand for something good, and to be standing up for someone who you respect.
What if the better course of action is to simply watch, listen, and not say anything at all? Perhaps allowing those who badmouth things you hold a stake in, and people who you respect, to continue on, serves to benefit you more than if your were to come to their defenses. This article aims to make a case for this course of action to be an optimal one in such situations.
If you come to the defenses of your interests, friends, or other things within which you hold a stake, you’d provide valuable information about yourself. You’d label yourself as someone who stands up for the things they hold a stake in at the very least. Should you let people know that you take offense at negativity being sent toward the things you like in life, they’ll be hesitant to express what they truly feel about those things.
To continue with the last example, if you came to the defense of your friend from the example above, you’d serve to put a stop to the dialogue which caught your attention. However, you wouldn’t know what the person who was expressing their negativity about your friend wanted to say in full. You’d label yourself as someone who they should censor their honesty around, and wouldn’t actually serve to change their mind on the matter. Once you leave the room, the chances of them continuing on with their train of thought about your friend are sizable.
Labeling yourself as someone who stands up for what you’re biased toward, and what you hold a stake in, will serve to distance you from honest dialogue. People will be wary to criticize the things they think you may be associated with. They’d be careful criticizing the brand of shoes you’re wearing, or the particular athletes that you enjoy watching. They’d steer away from a possibility of confrontation, and would thereby sacrifice honesty for peace of mind when they’re around you.
Unveil Yourself as a Stakeholder Only When Their Position Is Fully on the Table
Remaining unknown in your biases in the face of someone discrediting the things you like will open you up for brutal, but honest, opinion. You’d be able to hear people out in what they truly think about the matters which you’re associated with. You’d be able to gather valuable information on how to proceed in your relationship with these people, and you’d hear the full story about why they hold the positions that they hold. You’d be an informed listener, rather than a reactionary stakeholder.
In applying this approach to the example above, you’d be able to hear everything a specific person has to say about your friend. After doing so, you’d be able to share your findings with that friend, and perhaps plan a way of handling that information with an educated perspective on the matter.
If you were to attempt to discredit someone’s act of badmouthing a thing which you’re biased toward, you’d shift the conversation to be misaligned with what they truly feel. Though they may not be operating by fact, they’d be operating by honest opinion, in their attempts to bash the things you hold a stake in. That honest opinion, carries with it more informative power for you to take away than reacting at the time of hearing their painful words does.
As an extension of the points above, keeping your biases under covers would empower you in your arguments against whoever discredits the things you love. In listening to someone’s full arguments against what you’re for, you’d be more capable in picking up on holes in their logic. They’d have their guard down when attempting to discredit something or someone that you love. They wouldn’t expect anyone in the room to be actively listening with the goal of finding holes in their logic. They’d be messier in their presentation of their points than if they were to know that you are a threat to their opinion.
Try to keep your favorable position on matters which people argue against under wraps for as long as you can. Fight the urge to come to the defense of your unvoiced opinions, or the reputation of those you care for. Listen fully to the painfully honest opinions that others hold about the things you like. The ability to remain unknown surrounding the interests that you hold could be a blessing in that particular, seemingly painful, moment in time.