I was taught that dinner conversation should always be pleasant and light.
I have a beautiful group of friends. The other night, at dinner, we engaged in topics and in a manner not becoming of that childhood rule of a peaceful, quiet dinner. And, guess what? The world did not blow up.
We discussed religion, spirituality, where a young man should attend college (a strong discussion on that one) and differing lifestyle choices of diet (Paleo, veganism, vegetarianism). Again, that one also elicited serious sharing. We did not get to sex or politics, other topics my grandparents warned against ever discussing with friends. They both died in their 90s and never shared with friends or family how they voted or what they thought about political issues. How sad.
Not talk about religion, politics, or anything controversial at dinner with “friends,” are you kidding?
What happened to civics? Why all the polarization? Why the fear? Let’s talk…at dinner. Let’s talk so we can understand each other, not argue with one another. Let’s talk and listen to the heart, not merely defame. Let’s talk and listen without judgment. Let’s talk with people who we know may not share our views.
Perhaps, my comfort with sharing with those that do not see the world as I do comes from the fact that I am married (for the last 25 years) to someone with whom I don’t agree on many issues.
Somehow, we have been able to cultivate a field of mutual respect in spite of our strong opposing opinions. It is confounding to us when feelings are hurt because someone says something that another does not agree with or makes lifestyle choices that are contrary to another’s views. These things are not personal. It is imperative to understand that we are each on the planet to live our path, not play a part someone assigns us.
Let’s talk and still remain friends.
Why is everyone afraid that they might make waves within their circle? Rejection? Then, I hate to tell you….the circle is not real. And, if your “friends” do decide to keep their distance after a political or religious discussion, consider it a gift. For we should be liked, loved, accepted for our hearts. And it is with those that are capable of such we find treasure. I am thankful to have that in a spouse and with good friends.
Let’s talk at dinner. And, let’s do so without an agenda of conversion. Mutual understanding and respect is the goal and without diminishing the personal value of another. Tone matters! This is the only way that the extreme polarization, in this country, on many topics, even hopes to be tempered. It will be one to one.
Get out from behind the Internet and interact, in person. Looking into the eyes of another forces a more human experience, one that just may be imbued with just enough love to be that spark we need for a different course.
Am I being naive? No. Hopeful? Always.
Author: Melanie Blenis
Editor: Catherine Monkman