To those with whom I have ever argued, debated, or butted heads.
I was wrong.
For as long as I can remember I have maintained the mentality that the best way to win an argument is by absolutely destroying the other side with logic, facts, and reasoning. I may have won some arguments this way, but the cost of that victory has been the goodwill and respect of my peers. Hammering a point home certainly may make me feel good at the time or boost my self-esteem, but it does nothing but breed resentment for others. Of course there is always the exception to the rule, as there are with chain smokers and alcoholics who have remained functional throughout their long lives. I have found that no matter what you are doing, you will be able to find others as examples to justify your actions. In this ideology I have lost sight of the priorities and values of others and the desire to understand. Never has anyone been convinced by having an opposing ideology forced on them. Complying out of a war of attrition is not the same as agreeing.
I feel that a strong example of this is my opinion pieces from last year and the Facebook arguments that came with them. Some of them were written in a rather self-centred way. On the topic of technology leading to flakiness my original intention was to shed light on and breed greater understanding of the mechanics of friendships in modern society, especially given the advent of the Internet and its associated culture. I could have, and should have, written the article as a piece contemplating the effects of technology on the desire to – and necessity of – making definite plans. Certainly the ability to connect and stay in touch over technology can reduce the need to see each other face-to-face. Furthermore, rather than inject my dissatisfaction with certain people (you know who you are) into the article I should have approached them directly – not to berate them or tell them what I want from them, but rather in order to understand their perspective, their reasons, and get to know them better as a person. Not only would this have resolved the conflict, it also would have likely helped create a greater friendship (to an extent the flaked out on plans may not have provided).
Further, political correctness or “PC Culture” was another topic that was written about with little regard for dissent or understanding of the opposing viewpoints. Previous to writing the article I had had several discussions with then-friends whom I saw as having radical and ridiculous views which I thought had no merit in trying to understand or consider. Regardless of my personal views, my intentions in talking with them should not have been to berate them or put down their ideas whilst demanding they respect mine. I should have strived to understand where they were coming from. I should have given their arguments the same respect and weight that I had wished they gave mine. Such conversation would have allowed me to properly outline and discuss both sides in the article, rather than it being an inflammatory piece that boosted the egos of those who shared my views while fueling the rage of the opposition. Even if the article had ultimately been arguing against the opposition, it would have come from a standpoint that aimed to point out potential flaws in their reasoning, based not on hatred for their existence but a desire for mutual benefit.
I know that for many this apology comes too little too late. Please know that I am doing my best to become more understanding.
For those who will disagree with me in the future, know that I will do my best to understand you and consider your side instead of telling you that you are wrong and putting you down to the point of not wanting to argue anymore.