I have a really hard time disagreeing with someone I just met, especially someone from the opposite gender, and especially when I’m trying to impress them. In order to have good discussion and for interesting thinking to develop there needs to be an exchange of ideas - even conflicting ideas. In order for critical thinking to occur there needs to be a diversity of views and opinions, and when I meet someone new, for example on a date, I have a really hard time truly expressing my views if they conflict with the other person’s. The problem is that the other person doesn’t get to hear my real opinions, he doesn’t get to see that I’m passionate about my convictions, he doesn’t get to meet the real me. In a way I feel like I dumb myself down in order to seem more agreeable, I come across less opinionated – but the kind of man I want to marry doesn’t want an agreeable, docile, passive woman!
The more I date, the more I put effort into not falling into that trap. I try to politely disagree, I attempt to put forth my ideas in a non confrontational manner, but I always feel like in the end I tend to agree or at least come across as if I’m considering a new way of seeing things, when in fact, I rarely get convinced that easily. I find that it takes away from the quality of the date, it takes away from the depth of the discussion and it takes away from the sincerity of the conversation... but I can’t seem to change that behavior.
It occurred to me yesterday that part of the reason why its so comfortable being accepting of another's views is that it in essence protects us. If I believe that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, that each opinion is equally valid and that there is truth to be found in every belief then I am basically ensuring that my views and my thoughts wont be judged too harshly. If you can’t be wrong.. then I cant be wrong either.. and that’s comforting. When you meet someone new, the last thing you want to do is get into an argument with them. You don’t want them to attack you or your views, you don’t want them to judge you too soon based on a belief you hold and it becomes even more tempting to appease them and come across more agreeable.
The safer I feel, and the more comfortable I get, the more I am able to take a chance and risk being wrong, the more vulnerable I am willing to become. My friends and family will attest that I have NO reservations about expressing my opinions around them. I’ll argue, I’ll yell, I’ll debate until I’m blue in the face. I’ll try my hardest to prove them 100% wrong. The reason I can do that is because even if they end up proving me wrong, it will be ok. They wont judge me. They like me and value me and they will continue to accept me, realizing I’m human and humans make mistakes or faulty judgements. Their acceptance and appreciation of me is much greater than this one argument. On the other hand, it’s much more difficult to allow yourself to be vulnerable on a date, or when meeting someone new. They will judge you, and they will take their limited perception of you and generalize it and that’s too big a risk to take when you’re meeting someone new. And so, consciously or not, I end being much more agreeable and much more ‘open minded’ on these occasions. I think it’s especially unfortunate because it’s specifically when you meet someone new, and more particularly on a date, when you are presenting yourself as someone’s potential spouse that you want to be yourself and want them to see the true you - conflicting views and all.
I’m curious to hear what you guys think.
Do any of you have suggestions on how to deal with this?
I’m also curious, is this a gender related thing or a personality related thing?
Do women feel that they tend to be more agreeable in new and uncomfortable situations than in general?
Do men find themselves falling into this trap also?