To all the nice people out there…
You know you’ve been raised to be a nice person, when you tend to keep your opinions to yourself due to not wanting controversy or due to the fear of hurting a friend’s feelings or even due to the fear of being shut-down and bullied for your beliefs.
First of all—a friend might believe you agree with them if you don’t state your opinion. This could lead to an unbalanced friendship—and the uncomfortable situation of having to sit and be silent while they continually bring up a topic/dislike/etc. that you disagree with. It creates a wedge rather than a bond, as you would by trusting a friend with your opinion as they trusted you.
Second—there is a gracious way to bring your beliefs forward. Such as the following: “I totally respect you, and I’m grateful that you are comfortable enough with me to share your beliefs and opinions. Although, I do disagree and here’s why…” This will help identify that you are not disrespecting your friend—just giving a different opinion to theirs. This is how iron sharpens iron—for we all have walked different paths and have different difficulties in life that influence our ideas on different subjects and matters—these views can help us both grow.
Lastly—If they put you down and bully you—they are not your friend.
Proverbs 17:17 “A friend loves at all times.”
What is love? “4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Also, I like to look-up definitions of words that bring a whole other understanding; thus, the definition of the word “friend” via Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary is as follows:
- one attached to another by affection or esteem
- one that is not hostile
- a favored companion
Affection: a feeling of liking and caring for someone or something : tender attachment: fondness
Hostile: marked by malevolence : having or showing unfriendly feelings : having an intimidating, antagonistic, or offensive nature
Favored: providing preferential treatment
Companion: one that keeps company with another
And here is the best part about being open with your opinions in a kind manner—those who are respectful of them, no matter if they agree or not, prove that they are truly friends. The ones who are bullies and irate—will dislike you and possibly leave and that is totally fine. You and your opinion matter. I truly love the saying, “Those who matter don’t mind and those who mind don’t matter.”
Stay kind, friends, and remember you can have your opinion and still be nice.