This series of posts started due to a difficult conversation I had with my coworker about transgenderism. I mentioned how awkward it feels when talking about “hot topic” issues such as this, and how I resent that awkwardness. I explained that I want to learn how to talk openly and respectfully about these important matters.
But having concluded all this, I would be a hypocrite if I then allowed the conversation with my coworker to remain in the awkward state we had left it in. Here, at the end of this series, I want to report that my coworker and I had a follow-up conversation just a couple days ago. Though, to be honest, we almost didn’t. I saw the opportunity for a private word, and I almost let it pass by. I still felt all the same anxiety about speaking openly, and it seemed it would be much easier to just let the moment pass by in silence. But because of the things I discussed in these posts, I knew that I had to take the chance and see what came of it even so.
And…it was great! I acknowledged the awkwardness of the prior conversation, my coworker echoed those sentiments, and then we spent our time agreeing that we didn’t like things feeling that way and wishing that this sort of communication came more naturally. I made it perfectly clear where I stood on certain stances, but also reaffirmed my friendship in spite of our differences. My coworker did not act surprised or offended in the least, but neither did she try to make any false concessions to my views. We both showed respect for the other’s different views.
So yes, this conversation was difficult to get started, but it stopped being painful about two sentences in. I really feel like a great weight has been lifted off. I feel that we won’t have to avoid the elephant in the room any longer. I feel closer to my coworker now that we are both able to be genuine and honest. And I don’t have to worry what my coworker would think if she found out about my opinions. If she raises a social or political point in the future, she’ll already know that I probably respectfully disagree.
Of course, I can’t guarantee that every conversation with someone of different viewpoints will go as smoothly as this one did. My own conversation could have put a real wound in our relationship, but I remain convinced that making an honest enemy would still be better than remaining a deceitful ally. I know that I won’t hate someone else because they have a difference of opinion. On the other hand, if there’s someone in my life who would choose to hate me for my opinions, then that’s something worth knowing sooner rather than later.
I’ll leave this subject for now, but rest assured I will endeavor to continue living forthrightly, respectfully and earnestly. I will continue to express the perspectives that I think matter most, and I will strive to be at peace with whatever attitude is given in return.