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Why Can't Some People Handle Opposing Viewpoints?

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I'm a dental hygienist, pyrography artist, avid gardener, writer, vegetarian, world traveler, and many other things!


Why Can't We All Just Get Along?

I try to be a good person, but that doesn't mean I'll blindly agree with people just to get along with them. I feel that each of us has a unique perspective on things, and it's possible to both disagree with someone and remain respectful and friendly at the same time.

Recently I took the time to read two of someone's articles, to form my thoughts, find links, and comment on both articles. My comments were respectful but dissenting. If anything I write seems not to be respectful, it's a mistake in communication. However, I know for a fact that this was not, and could not, be considered disrespectful; no matter how I've looked at it, I've come to the same conclusion.

Yet he blocked both of my comments. What amazed me was that I left him fanmail as well, which he approved! That really got me thinking, basically, "What the hell is going on with this person?" I spent probably half an hour of my time reading his articles, forming my own thoughts on them, etc. Yet within minutes of posting the comments, he had marked them unapproved.

This got me thinking: What is it that makes someone act like this? Why can't some people handle dissenting viewpoints? And how can I handle this type of snubbery? It was a real letdown and made me feel irritated and offended. So I went on a quest to find these answers.

(Addendum: Thanks to the guy who denied my comments; it got me thinking!)

Why can't some people handle dissenting viewpoints?

Why can't some people handle dissenting viewpoints?

What I Found

Well, after various tiring Google searches, lots of them, I found out that it's hard to get any definitive answer as to the psychology behind this phenomenon. That means this will be based on conjecture until someone more knowledgeable comments on this article. Until then I'll do my best to reason out what the motivation must be to silence people who have differing opinions.

Ego Boost

Something has gone terribly wrong, and this person needs a constant ego boost. Somehow, even though they know people disagree with them, there is a boost in knowing they can get rid of differing viewpoints whenever they pop up.


Maybe they think people will view them as stupid, dumb, or uneducated if they allow dissenting viewpoints on their articles. If you need the acceptance of complete strangers to every thought you have, something deeper is at issue.


The only view that matters is their view, right or wrong, substantiated or not, documented or not. There is no argument but their own, and anyone who tries quickly learns who's the center of the universe!


They don't want any. They have an agenda for their articles or other works, and anybody who might get in the way of their goal will be thrown by the wayside.

Superiority Complex

Quite frankly, anyone who opposes their viewpoint must be a freaking idiot, and not worthy of being put on their page. But you'd think this would make them look smarter, so perhaps they really are feeling quite inferior.

Inferiority Complex

This also has to do with ego, and needing a boost. Whatever they do, they feel it's not good enough. If I voice a differing viewpoint to theirs, they take it as a personal attack.


Lack of Knowledge

They suddenly realize they're totally clueless about the topic they've been spouting on about for 20 paragraphs. They don't want to appear like an idiot, so they delete whatever might make them appear to be anything less than godly. This of course makes them look like an idiot, unwilling to learn something new.

Lack of Sources

They have nothing to back up their statements, and they aren't going to start trying to prove their points anytime soon. There is nothing substantiated about their claims, and they don't want people to know this.

Inability to Admit Defeat

They're outgunned on their own point, and they happen to be sore losers. There's nothing quite like being a party pooper, I always say!

Reality Questioned

The thoughts in our heads and the things we believe form our understanding of the world, and reality itself. If I have a differing viewpoint, maybe the mere idea throws this person's "reality" into question. Perhaps they're unwilling to admit to themselves that they're living in a false reality.

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After all, they just want to rant and rave and have their say with nobody questioning, for once. This is their space, and they get to live in their own world here.


They have it and you don't. It makes them feel powerful and bigger than they really are. It makes you feel powerless and smaller than you are. There's obviously something wrong when mere opinions cannot be tolerated.

They're trying to tell you something, and if you listen, you might learn something new.

They're trying to tell you something, and if you listen, you might learn something new.

How We Can Deal With Differing Viewpoints

1. Take a Deep Breath

hat's right; relax! Collect your thoughts, calm down, and take a step back for some perspective. Cool down before you reply or react. It's human nature to react instantly, and defensively. Give yourself time to distance yourself and reflect.

2. Try to Understand

Whatever this person is saying, it represents an intent to interact with you. They're trying to tell you something, and if you listen, you might learn something new. All knowledge is beneficial.

3. Don't Assume

Anything, least of all that because they disagree, they're out to get you, ruin your sense of reality, and trample your ego. It's probably not the case since most people have good intentions. Even if they don't, you will learn something of humility.

4. Assess

Actually consider the feedback or comment from a disconnected perspective, using facts and logic rather than letting emotions take over. Understanding the other person's point of view can help you interact with others and form more inclusive views of the world.

5. Recognize

That the person exists, and though they have differing opinions and viewpoints, every bit of information helps you form a whole opinion yourself. If you can't handle negative feedback there will be a lot of missed opportunities to learn something!

Try to embrace what you don't understand and you'll quickly learn this is a fast-track to gaining new insights.

Try to embrace what you don't understand and you'll quickly learn this is a fast-track to gaining new insights.

Differences Are Good

If we were all the same, we'd all have the same point of view, and sadly, this site and this article wouldn't exist because it wouldn't be needed. Everyone would know what everyone else thought, and gosh wouldn't the world be a boring place!

Let's create an environment that embraces opposing viewpoints, that asks the tough questions, that answers the tough answers. Be real, be empathetic, and understand that you, they, we, are all part of a great network of consciousness.

There is no right or wrong opinion in the big scheme of things; each is representative of a unique perspective--a unique individual--a unique being. Try to embrace what you don't understand and you'll quickly learn this is a fast-track to gaining new insights and ultimately, liberation.

© 2011 Kate P


Sean on February 18, 2020:

I think that Propaganda by Edward Berneys and The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind by Gustave Le Bon provide some good answers.

Mike on October 07, 2016:

Good article. I found it because I was wondering about myself. My niece and I disagree on a political article. Obviously we both think we're right. It just sticks in my craw that she reads the same article and gets the opposite view. I feel an intense desire to correct her error in interpretation. But I know if I try, it will end in frustrated argument. So I say nothing, but it festers....That's gotta be a mix of about 5 or 6 things you pointed out.

mjn245 on April 28, 2016:

I'm someone who struggles not to dislike people who disagree with me on certain topics. It's not about ego, or needing a reality check, or an inferiority or superiority complex. For me, it comes down to being able to see the real-world consequences of different opinions. As someone who has suffered in an unhealthy family dynamic, it is especially hard for me to respect someone who supports what I see as an abuse of power. While some may look at me disliking someone with such a view, and then view me as intolerant, I feel that an uncomfortable conversation is far preferable to condoning a statement that perpetuates abuse of power because I've experienced abuse of power and I know what it's like. That being said, while I may not like or respect someone who disagrees with me on certain topics, I'll still be civil, albeit not cheerful. I still think it's important that all voices be heard.

Kate P (author) from The North Woods, USA on August 24, 2015:

Great comments that I've been a long time in getting back to.. but I appreciate them. I think that a big lesson in life is in learning to deal with situations that we don't agree with, in firm but somewhat agreeable terms. Thank you :)

Kathleen Cochran from Atlanta, Georgia on January 13, 2014:

In general in the past 30 years here in America we've all been so wrong about so much, a fear has developed that someone else might just be right about something. Where would that leave the rest of us?

When I encounter a rude comment, I approve it anyway. I'm here for free discussion whether you agree with me or not. Not all hubbers are like that. Many only want to hear from those who agree with them. I find over time, those hubbers fall to the back of the pack.

Philip from Boston, MA. on January 04, 2014:

I disagree. (just kidding!) Hey, with a name like philabustah, I don't expect everyone, or anyone, to agree with me. What's important is being right. I like facts. They are hard to disagree with. If you know you are right, you don't worry about anyone else. Just thank them for their opinion. But, you are welcome to disagree with me any time. I won't take it personal. I only have a few hubs but I have one very similar to yours called 'Way too much fiction...' Cheers - Phil.

LorriePaige on May 18, 2013:

I totally agree with your article and have shared it with others online and offline--Thank you for posting it!

My experiences echo yours regarding my animal ministry, as I mentioned it in my blog below:

You said it very well!

Neil Dunsmore on November 25, 2012:

Very interesting and well thought-out I must say. Granted, some opinions can be wrong if they've been proven wrong, like if someone's opinion was that the world is flat, that's a wrong opinion, but nonetheless, you still have a very good point and I wish more people would take this into account.

Mitch Turnure from South Jersey on July 09, 2012:

I write for many reason, but ultimately to reach other people...whether in their heart, mind or gut. Hopefully all three. I Approve all comments as I prefer open dialog on the topic. I would only dissaprove a comment if it were too vulgar, especially for the sake of being vulgar. Great Hub...keep writing.

Kate P (author) from The North Woods, USA on January 07, 2012:

Thanks for the comments and insights! And yes, I agree that if not for this person, this hub and these ideas would not have come to be. Thank you!

infoforum from Universe on December 03, 2011:

A fantastic hub!!!!

IS1820 on October 20, 2011:

Hi Kate. A good well preapred hub that probably summarizes most of the reasons for people not wanting to hear any contradictions or ideas other than their own. Not everyone can accept that you can learn something from everybody, especially in political, religious or society norm issues.

Jennifer Vasconcelos from Cyberspace and My Own World on October 15, 2011:

You have certainly put a lot of thought into this article, well done. I understand how frustrating this experience was for you, the key, is to not take it personally. If not for this experience you may have never created this passionate piece, so some good still came of the experience and, you learned a valuable lesson for the future.

SJKSJK from delray beach, florida on October 11, 2011:

Some people just like that statusquo.

Eldon Krosch Jr. on October 11, 2011:

Often times its much easier for people to not entertain opposing viewpoints once their mind is made up. It is far easier to do that than admit that while you still believe in your position there may be some details off or complications they would rather ignore.

Or simply that while you think someone is completely off their rocker you might have to admit they have a lot of thought and knowledge behind their opposing viewpoint!

Respect is key in my mind.

A very good post thanks for putting it up.

Kate P (author) from The North Woods, USA on October 11, 2011:

Hi Thomas aka ThoughtSandwiches (they sound delicious, btw)! That's hilarious. What's funny is I'm the same type of person--glad to know I'm not alone in my sleuthery. LOL!

It was about, well I can't tell you or I'll give him away. But it was political in nature. He made pretty obtuse statements about something very important to me.

This post gave me a thought sandwich. Num-num-num! Thanks!

ThoughtSandwiches from Reno, Nevada on October 11, 2011:

Hi Faceless...

I will admit...I have no life...after reading this I scampered off to your Hub activity to see if I could identify said blower-offer (my own invented term thank you) have a lot of activity so I came back here to leave my little

Was it political? I have found that generally speaking...lot of folks don't wish to hear about your thoughts it interferes with theirs. Hence our current problem in this country I think...No one is willing to listen to any one else. Sad.

Keep plugging away dear and we will un-approve your comments as


Ruchira from United States on October 10, 2011:

Well said faceless39...I totally agree with the factors stated above. our ego and our stubbornness can sometimes hinder our progress. life is short...ought to keep those in the back seat if we want to drive our life rather than life drive us to a dungeon.

Kate P (author) from The North Woods, USA on October 10, 2011:

It's good to hear about other people's experiences--Thank you! Once again, I invite anyone and everyone to comment on my pages, including you kimh039. As for finding psychological terms to apply, I stated in the article that the entire article is pure conjecture. I think I lived up to my end of the bargain. Thanks again for all the great feedback!

John Harper from Malaga, Spain on October 10, 2011:

I have only ever unapproved/deleted comments that are spamming ads for some dubious enterprise posted by some retard who believes this will bring them business, apart from that all comments are good for reader numbers, and if we are fortunate enough to get a real humdinger debate/argument happening in the comments box, the score can soar!


SanXuary on October 10, 2011:

Sadly, many hubs or forums contain nothing informative and only have a desire to create argument that generally never stays on topic. The more informative the hub is the less likely you will receive any feed back at all. I enjoy feed back and it does not require any agreement on my view. Add-Subtract or present a different view is the best way to be informative and it is not arguing. The favourite ploy of the arguing person is to attack the person and not the subject. Stay on subject and take nothing personal and they have nothing worthy of arguing. The reflection of attacking the author is the fact that they are the uninformed and have nothing solid to add to the conversation. Selfishness and human agendas incapable of seeing opposing view points based on good information is the failure to mature and grow in order to learn that there is more to learn in this world.That is not ego but stupidity and the inability to learn from others or at the very least have an open mind.

Kim Harris on October 10, 2011:

Ironically, you have written an entire hub on your reaction to someone disagreeing with you! Had he or she not disagreed, you would not have written this hub. Usually when we have a strong reaction to someone, it's because we see a little of ourselves in them. As a rule, it's better not to "pathologize" someone's behavior when they disagree with us by finding psychological terms to label their very normal and appropriate behavior. While I may have a freedom to speak my opinion, that does not obligate others to listen. That is their choice. (If you choose not to publish this comment, I understand completely!) Thanks for the interesting and thought provoking hub, faceless39.

Invisiblestats from london on October 10, 2011:

Brilliant hub, People have every right to their opinions, That does not mean we have to agree with them, but its only respectful to listen to them.

Grace Marguerite Williams from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York on October 10, 2011:

Excellent hub. I totally concur. People have a right of discourse regarding response to individual hubs. If the hubber bans or disapproved the comment in question, he/she should not be a writer in the first place. Part of being a writer is to have people with dissenting and different opinions. This is a fact of life. I welcome disagreement as part of a democratic discourse on the subject.

Robephiles on October 10, 2011:

I haven't had the experience of ever getting my comments banned on Hubpages but at this point I have learned how to tell the kind of person who will respond negatively to any criticism. I did once ban somebody from commenting but it was about nine comments into the process and I just didn't feel like getting insulted anymore on my own article.

I don't really get intelligent differences of opinion that often. Usually I get disagreement where the person didn't read what I wrote carefully or just hostile stuff but the vast majority of people only write compliments. Sometimes I think this is from just being to timid to disagree or not wanting to engage in conflict.

I've known one blogger for about six years now who never deletes comments, but no matter how devastating an argument against him, will never admit that he is wrong. I have seen people absolutely obliterate him with evidence but he usually claims the evidence is bias or wrong for some reason. The internet is full of people like that. It is a place where impotent and powerless people can go and feel that they are important in some way.

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