An Argument For Contrarians

Button-pushers. Brats. Assholes.

There are a number of nicknames for people who go against our personal social grains. They rub us the wrong way, antagonize us, frustrate and anger us. They disregard social niceties, and often make us feel uncomfortable in our own skin. On a grand scale, contrarians are the people who force the world to change, ideally in positive ways.

Me, I’ve always been contrary. Essentially, I know everything. If I don’t know, then I am going to find out from a reliable source (which I consider very few individuals to be). If the information I seek is subjective, then I’m going to go out and find out my own damn feelings on the issue, because I’m a special goddamn butterfly and no one gleans information from situations like I do (says the ambivalent nihilist).

Sometimes it can be difficult to love–hell, to even just be around–someone who is constantly questioning your values, likes, dislikes, and reactions. But, I would go as far as to say that contrarians are the most important people to have in your inner circle, and here’s why:

Okay, okay. I get it. You’re tired. You work hard and do the socially acceptable things like paying your bills and mowing your lawn. Sometimes you just want to wallow in your own blissful ignorance. But, really, every person has occasional fits of catching a glimpse outside of their narrow life box. Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone to guide you into recognizing that your experience doesn’t necessarily dictate the norm. The answer is yes, dummy.

When I question someone’s core values or beliefs, I can assure you that it comes from a place of love. I am not an iconoclast, I am a buddy who is interested in learning your perspective, and the “why” of your behaviors. An adult should be capable of discussing their beliefs and values calmly and constructively

On a more personal level, there is something magical about watching a person explain why something is important to them, even if I don’t share that particular belief.

  • They will accept your differences, as long as you can justify them.

I don’t need to be agreed with, I need to be understood. Additionally, aside from, you know, scientifically verifiable facts, I don’t need to agree with you, I just need to understand you. Therefore, if you can give me the reasoning behind your *whatever*, I will accept it (even if I think you’re wrong).

This doesn’t mean that we’re going to be friends. This just means that I accept you for the way you are.

I don’t have to agree with you to defend your right to do your thing. And, as long as you aren’t harming the innocent or just being an ignorant ass, I will.

  • They will know you as well as you’re willing to know yourself.

There is a certain level of peace that comes with being truly known by the people closest to you. We all have dark places that we worry about showing to others. A contrarian is a good friend to bare your depths to, as they both appreciate differing viewpoints, and have a desire to truly understand them. While at times it may feel as though you are being picked apart, when you are back together, you will have a stronger foundation for the things that truly matter to you.

  • Perspective, man.

You only have one. A contrarian has many. We suck the perspectives out of everyone we experience, and switch between them when convenient. A contrarian will definitely keep you on your toes.

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