Who is Your Disagreeable Accountability Partner?
I have a weekly phone call with a dear friend of mine who is the only person in my life that I can claim as having significantly different views than my own.
We question each other freely, commonly submit when called out on our illogically constructed reasoning, and create so much life-giving energy in a short 30 minutes that I’m consistently left wondering why the way we converse can’t be the norm in our wider culture.
Subconsciously, when an agreeable conversation shifts toward disagreeable territory, a dance between conversational partners occurs to get back to safety.
What if we were consciously presented the choice, once per day, between the agreeable and disagreeable conversation? At some point, be it day two or day 200, our natural desire for “different” is going to choose the disagreeable conversation.
The first time we make that selection, it might go terribly, but time will pass and the temptation will likely return to give it another go.
Eventually, I would hope, a disagreeable conversation would occur that left you feeling grateful for engaging in it. So much so you might want to continue that conversation the next day and engage an entirely new topic of disagreement the next week.
Overtime, you will begin noticing how fruitful it is to be active in this conversation space. Your absolutes will turn gray. Your patience will skyrocket. Your relationship to complexity will strengthen. Your daily interests will likely shift. You’ll feel more alive.
Yes, I’m projecting my weekly, 30-minute experience into all of the above.
It’s important to acknowledge the word “disagreeable” here. I’m not talking about argumentation, untouchable ethical quandaries, or anything in the realm of true conflict. Just disagreeability.
Peter Block, author of Community: The Structure of Belonging, when speaking about the community space, uses the word “dissent”:
“To create a community of accountability and belonging, we seek conversations where…diversity of thinking and dissent are given space…Inviting dissent into the conversation is…