Meeting new people and knowing what and what not to say about politics, religion or even one's lifestyle is always a sensitive matter.
You never know when you are going to get scorned, and then shunned, for expressing your views.
Not to say that there are no tolerant people on this planet, but, being the bearer of an unpopular opinion can prove to be a welcoming for unwanted and awkward situations.
For example, during my first trip to a Wawa convenience store, I said that it was similar to a chain that I was familiar with, 7-Eleven. A Wawa employee heard my remark and stared me down while shaking her head in disapproval.
Needless to say, I never made that mistake again.
Other instances where unpopular outlooks will get the best of me happen at Seton Hall all the time.
Being that I was not raised with a religious background, I knew that coming to a Catholic university would be very different, not to mention that I would be surrounded by many people with differing views.
There would be times when I engaged in a conversation with someone and a sensitive subject may rear its head and cause some tension. If I am lucky, the other party would share my views and we can have a stimulating conversation.
If I am not so lucky, I would have to think of ways of expressing my views without offending the opposing party and wait until the subject changes.
I'd like to think that I am a tolerant person when it comes to other people's ideas and lifestyles. However, I know there are those who are not.
While standing up for what one believes in is extremely important and should always be done, bashing other's opinions should not be a form of defending oneself.
Disagreeing with someone's viewpoint is natural.
If one disagrees with another person to the point where a stable acquaintanceship cannot exist, then something has gone wrong.
Tolerance should always be exercised, no matter the degree of disagreeing.
The next time you find yourself in an awkward situation where you know your conversational partner is going to go off about whether or not they believe Uggs are fashion forward or a hot mess, take a deep breathe, and let them be heard. Then calmly tell them that while you do respect their opinion, they are completely wrong and explain why.
Tiffany Do is a sophomore journalism major for San Francisco, Calif. She can be reached at email@example.com.