Something I enjoy doing is driving. I don’t know many people who enjoy simply driving. I have been told that it’s stupid and a waste of money and time. They may be right, but for me, driving is something that allows me to relax. Driving and listening to music is fun, it’s stress-free, and it doesn’t require intense thinking. It is easy because instinct takes over and I just drive. Normally I stay fairly close to my house in case I need to be back for something, but occasionally I venture out further when I have more time. This gives me a decision to make; I can either turn back and drive on known roads, or I can explore new roads. These are the crossroads of driving, and just like driving, we have crossroads in real life. These crossroads can create impasses within our life, especially in our relationships with others.
Building relationships is more difficult than it has been in the past. We live in a world that is polarized by strong opinions. A wise person once told me, “The divide between agreement and respect is wider than ever before.” This statement is extremely true. Often times people have different points of view, and because of their difference of ideas, they lose respect for one another. An example of this was in my political science during my senior year of high school. We had bi-weekly debates about current events. Following one of the debates, a pair of best friends did not talk for three weeks. They were so strongly opposed to the other person's views that they lost respect for each other. If they had not had a solid friendship before the debate, I doubt they would have ever talked to each other again.
Situations like this makes word choice very important. One word or phrase can change the way others think of us and can affect the amount of respect given to us. This is something I personally struggle with. I am an outgoing person and have no problem telling anyone exactly what I think regardless of the topic, even when controversial. It has been pointed out to me that sometimes I break the relationship or connection I have established with a person because I am too blunt and direct. I think this is something we all can work on, myself included.
Regardless of our views, we will at some point or another come to a crossroads with someone else. What we do when we arrive at that crossroad is what truly determines our ability to build and maintain relationships. We can choose to turn around and turn away from new, unfamiliar, or opposing ideas and views, or we can listen, think, ask questions and have a conversation that progresses the thought process for all involved. We all have a choice of whether to turn around and go home, or to explore new territory when we arrive at a crossroads. What will you decide?