Chatterbox: Let’s Agree to Disagree, and Still Stay Agreeable

May 30, 2016 by Aila J. | Chatterbox, Features


It is not a character flaw if I don’t agree with you, and respecting my opinion does not take away from yours.

Imagine my surprise when I woke up this morning with tweets that were talking about fighting and pitting readers against each other. My first thought was – wtf? Why am I getting these passive aggressive Tweets at 5 am in the morning? Further research showed a controversial review Jeann posted about a much-loved book in the community. So here’s the thing: I get it when people want to defend a book they love. I understand wholeheartedly the feeling of sadness when someone didn’t love the book you loved – or worse, hated it. But I don’t understand why people dedicate so much time arguing against someone else’s opinion. Healthy discussion? Go ahead! Taking notes on conspiracy theories? Be my guest! But driving someone out of using social media for the time being? You’re delving the realm of “no chill.”

This kind of behavior is what drives people against writing negative reviews. As bloggers we all advocate for honesty in reviews, but why would someone want to write an honest three star review if they’re just going to get backlash? I know I wouldn’t, because the drama and hurt isn’t worth it. Sometimes I feel like we forget that it’s exceptionally easy to type words in a social media platform and press “send” or “enter” or “publish.” But because of that, it’s also exceptionally easy to have feelings hurt and friendships ruined. I think we all know the effects of words on a screen or page and how damn hurtful they can be. The saying, “Don’t say to others what you wouldn’t want said to yourselves” is really quite accurate in this kind of situation. Put yourselves in someone else’s shoes before hitting that momentous “send” button.

(I know I have to remind myself about this all the time, which is why I strive to stay positive and optimistic online. Nothing brings more rain to a sunny day than seeing a negative, unsportsmanlike attitude towards something online for me.)

Now another point I’d like to highlight is pushing one’s opinion about a book to someone else. NEWFLASH: everyone is different. Not everyone is going to agree which makes the world go ’round. (Because if everyone were thinking the same thing, no one would be thinking, as the quote goes.) So what’s the point of trying to argue? Whether it’s a character ship, plot twist, or book in general, no one is going to agree on the same thing. So instead of using time and energy making a big deal about it, let’s agree to disagree. Let’s have a lively discussion that doesn’t infringe on each party’s character and delves only into the world of the book- not real life.

Authors don’t write for fights. (Unless they’re publishing revolutionary essays that may change the course of history- then that’s another story.) They write for a reader’s enjoyment, whether it’s to see a new perspective, gain understanding from a character, or just escape the real world for a little bit. Don’t you think that authors wouldn’t like it if their book was the basis of antipathy between two opposing views? I know if I were a writer, making such caustic groups would be the LAST thing I’d want readers to take from my work.

It just confounds me that people out there are willing to go against each other because of a difference of opinions about a book. I hope people realize that someone’s opinion about a book isn’t going to affect their own life. Sure, seeing a Tweet that may talk crap about a book I love will gut my feelings. But it doesn’t compel me to start an argument – it’s not like I can change their feelings, anyhow. Especially if they have good points to consider. But that person’s opinion isn’t going to hurt my life at all. On the other hand, if I stepped up to argue against what someone thought about a book, I may just be causing unwanted hurt and just exacerbating the situation.

So no matter whatever it is about – someone’s opinion about a book, someone’s defense about a particular love interest or ship, or anything in regards to a storyline – remember that in the long run, it’s not going to affect your future. Is it really worth defending a fictional character and making someone in real life feel bad? Books are here for us to learn from, to be entertained by, to pass the time – not to cause friendships to break or wars to form. (Although hmm, the “war” thing may be debatable if it’s a political pamphlet asserting human rights – again, I digress.) And if it bothers you that much? Close out of social media and pick another book that you can enjoy, rather than spending that time having negative thoughts. Like we all know, “Too many books, too little time.” So why waste time getting upset about other people’s outlook on a book? In the end, the important thing should be how the book affected you and what you got from it. Read on.


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Aila is a young adult reader who loves to transport herself to new dimensions through reading. She's currently an undergraduate student at university in the US. Let's talk about our obsessions on Twitter @aila_1woaa!


61 responses to “Chatterbox: Let’s Agree to Disagree, and Still Stay Agreeable

  1. mlsimmons

    I love this post. I agree with you completely. I've had people who've commented that they didn't like books that I wrote positive reviews for. They weren't mean about it, they just said that it didn't work for them. That's fine. I responded that I was sorry it didn't work for them. Luckily, there are a ton of books and authors out there because there are a ton of different readers. We all have different tastes. I don't like historical romances, that doesn't mean that they're bad, it just means that they aren't my cup of tea. I do like some pretty dark romances from PNR and romantic suspense. If you don't like it, it doesn't mean you're wrong. There is plenty of choices for all of us. There is no reason to shame anyone for something they like.

    Melanie @ Hot Listens & Rabid Reads
    My recent post What is Whispersync? #JIAM2016

    • Exactly what your comment said! There is nothing hard about respecting other people's opinions while disagreeing at the same time. It's only certain people that like to shove their opinions down other people's throats, which is extremely rude and quite ridiculous to be honest. Why waste time on crying over what someone thinks about fictional characters, when we can focus our energy on more important pursuits?

  2. Jaz

    Great post Aila. I was extremely shocked, disappointed and saddened at the reaction to Jeann's review. I thought everybody was overreacting over such a little thing. Like you said we are all entitled to our own opinions, which is definitely going to happen in a subjective piece of writing like a novel. What annoyed me was that a lot of people who were attacking each other actually say "honest reviews are good" etc but then they became hypocrites in this situation. They just need to chillax lol.

    • Thank you Jaz! And you're sooo right – some people totally need to take a chill pill. Honest is the best policy, but you're bashing on us for making honest, lower-rating reviews? Puh-lease. Take your drama somewhere else. A 3 star review isn't the worst thing in the world, and it doesn't merit as much hurt as it caused.

  3. This is FABULOUS Aila! I agree with you 100%- there is absolutely NO reason for hate over an opinion- especially on something like a book, because everyone has different thoughts on books! And I don't get the whole "But I LOVE this book and it is amazing and I have to defend it" thing. Because… who cares if someone else likes it!? Like, I don't think Sarah is crying in her Cheerios because Jeann "only" gave her 3 stars, you know? She'll be fine, and I am pretty sure that the third book will still be published 😉

    There is not ONE book in the history of books that every single person likes. I dare these people to find one. They cannot, because it doesn't exist. Books are meant to make people think and feel, and sometimes they evoke different emotions in us- and that is GOOD! We aren't all meant to feel the same thing, to think the same thing. How boring would that be? It would take the fun out of reading.

    But what it really boils down to is how NOT okay it is to attack someone EVER. I read the review, and I seriously feel like someone is messing with you guys, because Jeann was very fair and classy, and there was absolutely nothing wrong with her review. Just because someone doesn't share her opinion doesn't make it invalid. Phenomenal post, Aila, and it is so nice that you have each other's backs around here 🙂
    My recent post The Indecision Games: The Reaping

    • Thank you so much Shannon! <3 I was mentally shouting "YEAH!" while reading your comment. 😀

      You're so right though, 3 stars isn't even that negative of a review! I find that sometimes it's the intense fandoms that really become aggressive, which is really not cool. I'm sure if Sarah knew what went on, she wouldn't condone it – especially over fictional characters. Maybe we should focus our battles towards the issues in real life, rather than who doesn't like which fictional character.

      Sometimes we all need a reminder that there is an actual person behind the screen, and that they have feelings too. It's really not that hard to be able to respect someone's opinion, even if you disagree.

  4. Yeah, because of all this recent drama, I am more scared, nervous, and hesitant to post negative reviews. Especially with some of the more hyped up books this year. I don't understand why people have to push their opinions on others. Will it make you feel better if your opinions are the same? Why does it even matter to you? I'm just baffled when it comes to this.

    This post really needed to be written. So thank you Aila <3
    My recent post Make Me Read It Readathon

  5. […] to Young Adults. Also over at Happy Indulgences she posted this wonderful discussion on how we can Agree to Disagree, And Still Stay Agreeable. Again it all comes down to respecting one another’s opinions, even if we don’t agree […]

  6. Grace @ RebelMommyBB

    Wonderful post!! i so don't understand why people get mean over other people's opinions. If we all thought the same thing life and blogging for that matter would be super boring. I think everyone just needs to be respectful of each other. I get people are passionate about books/ships/whatnot but that does not give anyone the right to be hurtful.
    My recent post Monthly Rewind ~ May 2016

    • Thank you Grace! And exactly. I find that some fandoms are so easy to rile up, which isn't really good; hopefully they start learning that. Sometimes we need a reminder that actual people are behind the screen, and their feelings could be really hurt.

  7. YES, YES, YES TO EVERYTHING YOU'VE SAID HERE. Opinions are the reason we blog and review (I mean, how boring would it be if everything liked the exact same thing and loved the exact same books?) You're going to have different opinions than other people, and that's okay. But that doesn't mean you can be disrespectful or bash someone else's opinion. Thanks for sharing this Aila and, as always, fabulous discussion! <3

    • Thank you Zoe! <3 And exactly, what makes the world go 'round is the fact that we all have different perspectives and opinions; in addition, it's easy to have these different opinions and still respect one another.

  8. Wait, really?? I always miss the Twitter fights! Or I log off when I see them happening. lolol. When people start saying they're crying or "ITS TOO DRAMATIC/I HATE THIS COMMUNITY" I'm tempted to just reply back snarkily to them, but I just close the app for a few hours. People seriously start drama out of anything. What happened to freedom of speech, anyway? It's JUST a negative review. Calm yourselves, peeps. Well said, Aila! <3
    My recent post Review: Wanderlost

    • Yeahh me too, sometimes the best way to deal with this kind of stuff is to just take a break for a while. Exactly though girl! People need to calm down sometimes, and take a look at the situation in the grand scheme of things.

  9. I stopped using twitter some time ago because that place can be so damn negative. Some people just like to create drama, they feel better when they can look down on other people, when they can hate on someone, when they can ridicule another person's opinion. I wonder why it's so hard to talk directly to people and not about them. To celebrate the fact that we have different opinions on books, because that's what makes life interesting.

    Btw, it can also be quite frustrating when you say you enjoyed a book others, very vocal readers, didn't enjoy. Be prepared to be characterised as naive, dumb and so on. I had to stop reading some blogs because they didn't just say that a certain book is crap, which I have nothing against, however they also implied that readers who enjoyed it are as well and that's something that I'm not going to support.
    My recent post Sworn to the wolf – Lauren Dane. #123 in 2016

    • Oh man Sabrina, I totally get that. Saying an opinion about books is okay, but it's not good to get the readers involved into it. :\ I really don't like when people point that out too, it just seems so inconsiderate and selfish, the way they try to push their opinions onto other people.

      Yeah, I try to be as positive as I can on Twitter. When it gets too hard, I just take a break. 😛

  10. No chill, indeed. I don't know what all was said, only heard there was drama. Then found out it was directed a Jeann's post and was like 'wft?' People are strange. Like you said, what someone says about a book may bum me out or whatever, but I certainly wouldn't go on the attack. Weird, weird, weird.
    My recent post With Malice by Eileen Cook

    • Yeah Christy, hopefully this experience has taught people some things, especially in regards to their behavior. :\ It certainly doesn't hurt to keep respect towards one another, despite differences in opinions.

  11. Yeah, I understand that people take books they love very seriously, but I don't understand getting mean about it. There have been times when someone posts a positive review about a book that I hated. I will make a comment or two about why I didn't like it to spark a conversation, but I don't insult the person for their opinion. Everyone's tastes are different and that's okay. Great post!
    My recent post Top Ten Tuesday – Beach Reads, or in other words, Books that won't make you cry

    • Thanks Cynthia! And yeah it's great to spark a conversation, but making attacks on a person is just taking it too far. If everyone had the same taste, the world would be a boring place indeed.

    • Too true Lauren, too true. 😛

      That kind of energy can be used for more important things – like reading. Or blogging. 😉 Spread love, not hate.

    • It's quite possible to disagree over a subject and still respect one another – I've done so time and time again with my own friends. But sometimes people need to remember that. :\

  12. aentee @ read at midnight

    I think on social media, people often forget that there's a real person behind the screen. It leads to so many awful situation, all laid bare in public. It's atrocious that Jeann, and you guys, by association received negativity for one review. Thankfully, from what I saw, the majority of the community definitely condemned the few that misbehaved, and I am glad to see people gather behind you! I absolutely agree with the sentiments of your post Aila, I think JKR or SJM would be appalled if they ever learned of how certain parts of their fandom behaves – regardless of what their views are on the book. Thanks for the thoughtful post, Aila! It really needed to be said.

    • I'm also really happy there were a lot of supportive bloggers and people out there to back us up! <3 The situation overall was just as astonishing as it was ridiculous. It seems like some fandoms experience more aggressive comments than others, and I really hope they become aware of how they act, and how the authors would think of them if they knew. Hopefully the situation has been a learning lesson for those involved – it certainly was for me.

  13. *applause*
    I agree with everything you said, Aila! I don't get why it's so difficult to 'agree to disagree' these days. And while I can be very invested in the characters of books I love, I'm not that much into them that they become more important than real people.
    Also, I think it would be very, very boring if we agreed about everything. There would be no need for bloggers at all – just one single person to give a star-rating, and everyone else would agree.

    My recent post Review: Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless – Liz Czukas

    • Too true! I personally stop reading 5 star reviews about a book after the third or fourth one. Just because at some point, they get so repetitive. The lower-rating reviews offer a fresh perspective, which I really appreciate and find myself drawn to. We wouldn't want the blogosphere to be a boring place now, would we? 😉

  14. Lisa @ Lost in Lit

    Okay, this seriously breaks my heart. First of all, Jeann is one of the sweetest people ever, so I hate to think someone was mean to her. Though I wasn't involved in this and had no knowledge of it (I've been avoiding Twitter lately because DRAMA!!) I kind of wish I had known because I doubt I would have been able to keep my big mouth closed when it comes to something like this. Secondly, this is like my number one biggest pet peeve. I absolutely DESPISE when people are so blatantly mean to each other for NO REASON! As you said, everyone is different. People are allowed to have their opinions. And no one should ever be shamed for their opinion, whether you agree or 100% disagree. This just absolutely breaks my heart and makes me want to stay away from Twitter even more. I know it's not only on Twitter, but I find it's there quite often, and I just can't take all the hatred in this community lately. People need to grow up, stop judging others' actions, and spend more time focusing on your own unacceptable actions, thoughts, and decisions, rather than focusing on what others think/say/feel. This is just too much.

    Thank you for writing this!! I love seeing how you guys all stick together. Jeann is lucky to have you. Friends make everything better, even when it feels like life is being completely unfair. Spread the love!! <3
    My recent post Let’s Chat: Drowning to Breathe by A.L. Jackson

    • Exactly Lisa! <3 And I totally know where you're coming from, with all the drama going on. Sometimes it's easy to forget that people are behind screens, and words can REALLY hurt someone. I hope that lessons were learned after what happened.

      Blogging shouldn't be something with pressure – it's supposed to be fun. So seeing these types of aggressive comments just makes on reconsider why they blog in the first place. I'm so glad there are the great people out there who were supportive about it all <3

  15. Great post!!! Every review I've seen where the reviewer wasn't a fan of the book has never in anyway insinuated that people who like the book are wrong. I don't know why some people have to be so awful. So many people have said they haven't liked books I love and whilst it's always disappointing the only thing I've ever said is, "aw, sorry you didn't enjoy it!" As reviewers it's our job to be honest and we shouldn't have to be worried about receiving an influx of hate comments on our blogs or on social media.

    • Exactly Lauren, I'm glad you understand! I just thought it was really extraneous to be so aggressive over feelings on a book… It seems that some fandoms get more defensive than others, which is truly a shame. I'm really sure the authors wouldn't like that kind of behavior. Worrying about getting hate on social media or the blog isn't the way to go about writing reviews.

  16. Lunch-Time Librarian

    It's so crazy to me that people do things like this. If someone was like "Harry Potter is the worst book I've ever read" or something of that nature the most I would do is think "damn, what a hate on" and would comment something like 'sorry you didn't enjoy it' and move on.

    This post has so much truth. What is the point of trying to force someone to change their opinion? And worse, what does that person get for insulting the person themselves over their opinion? Not only does it just make that person look ridiculous in burns bridges in the community.
    My recent post 35 Thoughts While Reading The Rose And The Dagger – NO SPOILERS

    • That's exactly what I do as well haha ;D say "sorry you didn't like it"

      But for real, why waste energy and time trying to argue someone's opinion? It's really not worth the burnt bridges.

  17. fitkittymama

    Yes! I don't understand all of the bickering and fighting over different opinions. So someone didn't like a book, it happens! We all have books we love and books we don't, attacking one another because our opinions differ is ridiculous! If someone doesn't get the same enjoyment out of a book that I do, I just figure it was their loss that they didn't enjoy it and move on; it doesn't affect my enjoyment of the book at all.

    • I agree with you 100%. It's really not worth the time and effort to argue against someone about their opinion. I'd rather spend that time reading and finding more books to love 🙂

  18. keionda

    I agree that we should all just stay agreeable! (I LURVE the word play chica!) 🙂 And, I love how you highlighted a very important problem going on! Most of the time I don't actually see them and I've never had this happen to me but it still sadness me to know that this is going on! We should be in harmony, loving books and just having overall good book conversations but sadly, this does happen from time to time. :/

    • Haha thank youuu 😉 I do try to keep things interesting.

      Exactly, it's really easy to live in harmony while still having different views: it's called respect. Healthy debates are good, but sometimes people can take it personally and it just hurts both parties involved. Hopefully more people will be more aware of this problem going on.

  19. It's a shame that people have to get so up in arms about something so trivial as a negative book review. I mean, aren't there many more things in the world that warrant our righteous anger that don't involve alienating people that are essentially on the same team as we are, even if we don't all hold the exact same opinion? As a blogger, I value my right to write a negative review of a book that didn't wow me as long as I can write it thoughtfully and with respect (as has been done in this case), and if people don't agree, that's cool, but I'd hate to think that they'd lash out at me personally for having a different opinion. I hope you ladies won't back down from writing negative reviews when they're warranted, and hope people will stop taking them so personally!
    My recent post Series Worth Reading: Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne

    • Oh definitely not Megan! Honesty is the best policy, as far as our reviews go (haha).

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I think that somehow someone will always find a way to take them personally, but in the end it's good to remember to not waste energy and valuable time on such thoughts.

      Exactly though, I don't understand why people will get so riled up towards a fictional character or book when they can do so with important matters in the industry such as the lack of representation or maybe MISrepresentation, which is harmful to potential readers? Maybe we should do that instead of attacking other people's views.

  20. lekeishathebooknerd

    Well said. I'm so sick of seeing all this drama about someone's opinion of a book. You can't make someone love it just because you do. If we all loved the same thing, it'd be boring around here. Clearly someone needs to sit back and realize that It's not all about them or said book. And I'm standing my ground; I'm still not reading the book. I'm just done with the author's work for a while.
    My recent post Mini Reviews: Can’t Live Without ’em

    • Haha nice idea Lekeisha. I'm holding off picking up that book until the hype dies down; I'm just sick of all the bookstagram photos and fanart and quotes and tweets about it. Let it rest guys! I think it's mainly also because of fandom. But anywho, once that's over maybe I can convince myself to pick it up.

      Exactly though! Imagine a blogosphere with reviews that say exactly the same thing? The interwebs would definitely be a boring place.

  21. Shannelle C.

    I read that review and it made absolute sense while being really nice and respectful. I'm forever wary of that fandom, it's just so vicious. People aren't even allowed to disike it, and it's just beyond me why someone would even find that unacceptable

    • Omg Shannelle, you're so right though. I love fandoms and all, but they can get so aggressive, which is really not cool. I don't think the authors would condone their actions, and it makes me sad that we have to go through such attacks.

    • For real though Bieke!

      I love reading controversial reviews because it gives such a diverse look on a book. Where would we be in a world where everyone agreed on everything? Yes, it's sad that a friend may not like a book you loved. But no, that does not mean that it's right to react negatively to their thoughts. Sometimes we just need a reminder.

  22. Angel @Angel Reads

    I cannot deal when people hate on people for not liking something. It's fine not to like a book , because you know it's your own thoughts – no one can tell you what to think.
    I don't write many negative reviews – simply because I find it hard to; that doesn't mean I don't dislike books. Because there are books that I don't.

    Thank you for writing this.

    • It's my pleasure 🙂

      I just think it's a waste of time and energy to be so aggressive towards people who don't have the same opinion as you – especially for fictional characters! It's much easier and helpful for both parties to just respect each other's opinions and point of views – it's what makes us so different from each other, after all!

  23. All the YES to this post, Aila!! I understand that reading a negative review over a book you love very much can be sad-making, but I don't think that justifies any sort of backlash or negative comments toward that person. I can understand comments if the review went onto personal negatives towards the author (we all know what kind of reviews I mean, those are NOT okay either) but if you disliked a book and honestly express your opinion? Agree to disagree and be kind, rewind!
    My recent post Illumicrate May Box is HERE!!

    • Exactly Pili <3

      It's really not worth it to cause such disagreement with real friends over fictional characters… Respect is so important, and it's good to remember that we are still able to respect other people while disagreeing with their opinions!

  24. Thank you so much for writing this post Aila, when I didn't have the words. It's such an important reminder especially when it's all too easy to regret what you say on social media due to the immediacy of it.

    • Of course Jeann <3 I know I wasn't involved in anything since it was bedtime for me (Lol thank goodness), but it just got me quite fueled up. I'll always have your back Jeann! <3

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