A FEW months ago, someone started sending me emails. At first, he was simply asking questions about things I had written and so I answered him.
It became quickly apparent though that the person was not really interested in what I had to share as he was trying to bait me into his way of thinking. Still I humored him and tried to respond sincerely and respectfully.
But after a few exchanges, I had to tell him, "You are asking questions not because you are truly curious as to what I want to say or you want this or that matter clarified. You are asking me questions because you want to forward your own agenda, to twist my answers in order to say what you want to say. I'm sorry but I have no more time for this."
Still he persisted and sent me another email, saying that since I invited my readers to email me, I am obliged to answer their questions.
I responded for the final time with this: "I am no more obliged to answer your email than you are to send one to me. Yes, I invite readers to write to me. I also have the prerogative to decide whether they are worth my time answering or if they are just nuisance mail.
You are welcome to think whatever you wish of me and hey, if you think you have a message worth saying, go apply to write your own column in a newspaper somewhere, even Sunstar. I have no interest, however, in these silly games you are playing with me. I feel no obligation to convince you to accept my views though you seem hell-bent on convincing me about the truth of yours.
So no, unless you show that you are capable of meaningful discussion instead of just pushing your own agenda, this will be my last reply to you."
Still he persisted and sent me more email, with subject headings such as "Don't give up. Defend your belief," but I just laughed and ignored him as I said I would. The emails stopped coming after he finally realized that I meant what I said about that being my last reply. I am not so insecure with my own opinions that I feel I should always debate with everyone who challenges them.
In my 44 years of life, I have come to terms with the fact that people will always have their differences and no amount of argument or persuasion will bend others to your point of view, even with family...and sometimes, especially with family.
So if there are irresolvable differences, I don't dwell on them but find ways to move forward despite the disagreements. Instead of focusing on what doesn't work and what is unacceptable between us, let's see how we can work together and have that basic human respect, at least, in getting on with our plans and our lives.
What I find bewildering is some people torture themselves with this and demand that the other person change his opinion or else.
During the last election season, there was someone whom I didn't even know personally who started criticizing my social media posts about the candidate I supported -- to the point that even my non-election related posts were given a political twist by this person. So I said something like, what's the problem here? And she replied with, "I'm so sick of seeing your posts on my newsfeed."
Oh my, if that was the problem, she could have easily turned off my feeds by unfollowing or unfriending or even blocking me, as I have done to some people who were really obnoxious and annoying. But she would rather point the blame on me like it was my fault for expressing my opinion on my page.
Some people are just too blinded by their own anger to see that they themselves are the cause of their own unhappiness.
Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on December 15, 2017.
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