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Are Social Acceptable behaviors being overlooked, or we, as a society, courteous to others?

October 26, 2016

Hyun-Soo Seo


22 October 2016


There is a plethora of subjects that, when mentioned, might stir up distress in some people. These subjects might include, but definitely are not limited to, breast cancer and the concealed carrying of guns. Whether the other participant in the conversation has dealt personally or even impersonally with death by either of the two examples, he or she may not feel comfortable discussing the subject.

There are other topics that some feel should be talked about in the open such as politics and government transparency or differences in culture. These subjects, while they may not have harmed anyone, may still instill uneasiness in the other participant of the conversation.

There are different types of sensitivity about these topics. Among these different types, as mentioned above, there may be sensitivity through dealing with death, or near-death, or even a hard time.

Another issue may be that our society simply does not accept each and every point of view. There are very obviously opinions that our society accepts more than others. While some may agree there are some opinions that are “stuck in the past,” or “outdated,” and belong in a different generation, it should not discredit someone’s opinion.

One’s opinion is one’s right and freedom, but what is wrong is not being open to learning. Some of these outdated opinions were rooted into society at a particular time and the reason for it was because of the lack of information that society had. Needless to say, information is constantly peaking; there is more information today than was ever had before. With this information, we have redacted some of the wildly incorrect prejudices and assumptions that our predecessors carried.

While we can form all the opinions in the world, they should always be based on facts. The only wrong opinion is one that is not one’s own and was simply handed down through a generation. If everyone were open and committed to learning all sides of an issue and then forming an opinion, many more people would be able to comprehensively and intelligently debate a subject.

This applies to a multitude of situations. The current political debate is just one example. Many people have formed their political stance on only one or two pieces of the candidate’s platform. Some of these people are so gung-ho about these one or two pieces of the platform that they are now relentlessly supporting whichever candidate.

It is easy to be sucked into either side by one or two of the stances the candidate has, but if everyone was more willing to look holistically, peer debates and conversations could be much more positive as well as effective.

Still, there are those in the category of sensitivity mentioned first. These people and their willingness or unwillingness to share their opinions or thoughts about a subject should be respected.

Of course, there are people who go through grave hardships and are more than willing to share their stories. Those who are willing may simply have a more communicative coping mechanism and therefore speaking to others about their pain can help to understand and cope with what occurred. Others may cope internally and need time to understand what happened.

How, though, can someone know the events of someone else’s life so thoroughly to know which subjects are up for conversations and which are not? The answer is that no one knows each and every experience another individual has had. Due to the obvious inconsistency in personal knowledge, it is imperative for everyone to be considerate.

If someone strikes up a conversation about a particularly sensitive subject, no one should be afraid of simply informing the other person that the aforementioned subject, whatever it may be, is not something that he or she is willing to discuss. The other participant in the conversation must also be considerate and accept that the subject is off-limits.

The only thing that can be wrong in a peer debate or conversation is the unwillingness to learn from someone else. Everyone is entitled to opinions and thoughts, but being open to other opinions is crucial. Open dialogue can help to advance our societies openness and willingness to accept different opinions, but dialogues should be prefaced with consideration for subjects that may impart discomfort in someone else.

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