Do not mind different Opinions among Friends - 17 May 11

Yesterday I wrote that if someone is a real friend, it doesn’t matter to your friendship if you change your belief or philosophy. Today I want to add that it should not even matter if you have a different opinion than each other from the very beginning. It is fully fine and it doesn’t mean that you cannot love each other.

I often give the example of my oldest friend Govind. We are very different from each other, have a lot of different habits and opinions. Still we are friends, see each other when we both are in Vrindavan, we meet, we talk and we love each other. It doesn’t matter that we have different opinions.

Opinions are a bit like different taste. When we three travel together, there can be several points in which we don’t fully agree. Ramona loves eggplant whereas Yashendu absolutely does not like it. We manage to cook eggplant from time to time so that we can enjoy it but also make something separate for Yashendu as well. It works and it doesn’t matter that they have different taste.

If I have a friend who smokes but I don’t smoke, we can be friends anyway. I even write in my diary that I don’t approve of smoking but I still love my friends who smoke. I am a vegetarian and openly and always advocate vegetarianism but still have many good friends who are not vegetarian. There can be many examples like these but the main point is that even if I don’t agree with a point of my friends’ lives or if they don’t agree with a certain aspect of my life, we still can be friends.

So if I write something in my diary about one of these points, for example that I think people should recycle their garbage but you do not recycle or if I believe one should not drink alcohol, especially if one’s children are around but you do exactly that, we can still be friends.

I have made the experience that people minded it very much whenever I wrote negatively about something that they actually did in their lives. Some people even got very angry, thinking that I am writing about them in particular. This made me think from time to time, before writing a diary entry: ‘Oh, if I write this, maybe he or she could think I am writing about them! I should talk to them before!’ The reality is however that I cannot warn everybody every time that I write something that could concern them, too. To how many people can I talk?

I explained before, too, that nothing that I write is in any way personal. Of course I get inspiration from everything around me but I like to talk in a wider range. You may think that I am talking about you but what you don’t realize is that your neighbor has the same problem. I usually write about things that concern many people, not only individuals.

This is why, if I have written something in the past or write something in the future that you find in your life and that fits to you please don’t take it personal and don’t mind it. It is meant for a large number of people to read, not only for you, the individual. And it is only my opinion. If yours is different, it is fully fine for me, too. You, your love and your friendship is valuable to me. I love you.

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This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Deniz

    Many people are very hostile and intolerant toward those with different points of view. In those cases, they are impossible to get along with and be friends with. Also, in some cases where I view someone’s point of view as clearly morally wrong, as with those who advocate fascism, or those who think they have a right to be abusive or violent or hateful to anyone they don’t like or feel like being abusive or violent or hateful toward, then friendship becomes impossible too. Friendship requires some respect of the other person, and if I know that they hold points of view and do things that are very clearly morally wrong and wicked, and they have no interest in changing their ways or admitting they are wrong, then there can be little respect and therefore little friendship. Like for instance, in the case of that guru you wrote about who escaped and ran away just before he was about to be convicted of rape charges, do you think you would be able to spend days together talking and having meals together, and get along well as great friends? No, I don’t think so. In that case the differences would be too great. Friendship also requires an ability to discuss any differences with reason and civility rather than hostility and intolerance. So if the other’s points of view are not so radically divergent that I do not see them as obviously on very wrong moral ground, and if they are able to discuss any differences with reason and civility, then friendship is indeed possible.

  2. Swami Balendu

    Dear Deniz,Yes, you are absolutely right. There is a point where even with all tolerance you have to say that you cannot be friends with a person. If your friend turns out to be a bad criminal you cannot go along with each other anymore.
    I have however seen sometimes that some people even mind it if one has another taste. I thought it is good to write a small warning here before causing any big explosions 🙂
    Much love

  3. Ashvini

    It is good to have difference in opinion but if the opinion is different from masses, we should be open to ridicule. In my college days, just listening to rock music invited ugly comments from batch mates who could not understand what was to like in it. It took me a lot of time to make them understand why I liked them.
    Another reason is sheer jealousy. Maybe you are good at something and someone is not. I have seen people being jealous for each and every small reason. One of my friend is jealous of an ice cream shop because it is doing good business.
    To understand difference of opinion needs a mature mindset. If someone approaches the subject with biases in mind it turns to bigotry and jealousy.
    We have quite a similar thought process :)). Thanks for sharing your thoughts

  4. Swami Balendu

    Dear Ashvini, Thank you for your comment. It’s ridiculous to see this kind of jealousy. I have been subject of the anger of smokers if I write about smoking. In a way it shows also people take my writing serious which is good but this entry especially I wrote to make clear: please don’t take it personal and I don’t hate you if you drink or smoke. We still can be friends. I am happy to know that we have a similar thought process. Love

  5. Tricia

    I think that I would have a lot less friends if I decided to only hang out with people who had the same tastes as I do, plus life would be so boring! I guess there is only one thing, while its okay to take into account their differing opinions, I think letting the influence go too far is never a good thing, as long as you are able to hold onto your own values and love your friends and not their opinions than that is fine.

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