I'll come up with something in a minute.

If you can’t handle that… well okay then.

I don’t much like the phrase “If you can’t handle that, then leave now.”

I see it a lot in profiles, and in posts when someone says something controversial. Someone announces they’re into something, or they have a view and “If you can’t handle that, then leave now.”

And… I just can’t get behind that sentiment. I don’t mean to condemn anyone else for using it, except in the tacit way of saying I don’t like it. It feels a little to dictatorial, too much like disagreement won’t be tolerated, I just can’t do that.

If you disagree with polyamory, for example, then that’s your view. I’m a little too old, and I’ve been doing this for a little too long to be talked or even shamed out of it. Trying will just wear out your welcome and will only encourage me to eventually ignore your views on most other subjects as well. If you want to have a meaningful conversation, you’re going to have to accept certain aspects of my personality aren’t going to change. Trying to bullyrag me will only have the effect of me deciding your opinion is valueless and ignoring anything you might have to say.

This can extend out to disagreeing about our views on guns, or the new James Bond movie, or what car I drive, or whatever other thing you might want to mention. I can disagree with a person who has an opinion, so long as their view is based on some amount of thought and can be expressed without a lot of straw men, ad hominem, or emotional blackmail. It’s when a person can’t rationally explain things, or becomes insulting that I begin to simply ignore their views. I’m keeping the scourge of mansplaining out of this, because that’s a post for another day. Being a condescending prick is a completely different thing and doesn’t go in for what I’m talking about here, but I’ll probably ignore anything you have to say if you go in for that too much as well.

You don’t have to agree, and I’m not exactly sure what’s meant by “handle that” anymore, but I’m pretty sure most people can become used to the facets of another person’s peccadilloes with time. If I understand your views, and I know them to be entrenched, I probably won’t try to change you so much as understand you. I may do this while thinking that you are wrong, and knowing that you have to sit there in your wrongness and just be wrong, but that’s my view and I’m entitled to it. I probably won’t go telling you how wrong you are, because if I know your view to be entrenched then I know that attacking you on such a view will only make you burrow in deeper. However, I may express my opposing viewpoint just as openly as you’re expressing yours. With an attempt at respect and dignity of course, because I’ve grown tired of watching people being unable to discuss anything because they can’t even disagree with each other.

So yeah, if you can’t handle something, then you’re free to disagree. If you want to discuss your disagreement, we can try. You must be warned though, if you approach such an offer as an opportunity to be a dick, I probably will just stop talking to you. At that point you’ll have no one to blame for being the asshole in the statement “Yeah, I had to stop talking to them or listening to any of their worthless views. They just couldn’t avoid being a complete asshole.” Fortunately, I have to say this very rarely because most people can avoid being the asshole.

I don’t think you should have to avoid a place or a person if you disagree on a subject, and the finality of “If you can’t handle that, then leave now.” makes me deeply uncomfortable. If you are fully and completely unable to handle someone with a life path that is divergent from your own, then maybe you should stick around actually. Acclimate yourself to other people’s way of doing things. Maybe stepping outside of your comfort zone is exactly what you need.

I’ve got time, we can discuss things, pull up a chair.

December 17, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment


IMGP9016 by greyweirdo
IMGP9016, a photo by greyweirdo on Flickr.

December 17, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment