Have you grown since you joined the SDMB?

Inspired by post 60 in this thread (eddyteddyfreddy), I thought it would be interesting to learn what growth steps people have taken as a result of their membership here.

I’ve shrunk, actually. By about six pounds. :wink:

Speaking on matters specific, I can say that I am no longer against same-sex marriage. I used to be, before I came here. I was a confirmed right-winger (not a Bible-thumper, mind you) and I was against SSM. I was not vehemently opposed, but I was opposed…but I was never quite sure why. Oh sure, I used some of the typical arguments, but I was never really sure why I was against SSM. Reading the Boards and the plethora of threads on the subject made me realize, I didn’t have a reason. I was probably just scared of change, or scared of … I don’t know.

I also find myself more tolerant of others’ opinions about…well…just about everything. I’m not sure if I can point my finger directly at SDMB for that change, but I suspect it played a part.

I’ve also learned a great deal about debate. Not that I take part in those GD threads (those people scare me…sometimes I feel like they know I’m looking into their thread and are gonna come screaming out of my monitor to devour my heart and maybe my spleen and/or appendix). But I watch them. And I learn. And I’ve used various discussion techniques to get points across.

Plus I think I’m better looking. Not much. But a bit.

Basically, it’s made me realize that I’ve had a very provincial upbringing, and I had a lot of invalid misconceptions about people.

I’ve learned:
[ul]
[li]To pay more attention to what someone says instead of how he says it.[/li][li]I’m not always right.[/li][li]I’m not always wrong.[/li][li]Not all people who consider themselves conservative and/or Christian are as prudish and as judgemental as I’d always thought.[/li][li]Not everyone who’s my parents’ age acts the same as my parents.[/li][li]Intelligence and attractiveness are not mutually exclusive.[/li][li]Not all gay people fit the typical stereotypes (which helped me decide to come out).[/li][li]Some gay people do fit the typical stereotypes, and that’s still cool (which is helping me be comfortable with staying out).[/li][li]About a lot of movies that I saw on the recommendations of people here, but I can’t remember any of them now.[/li][/ul]

I’ve grown since joining SDMB; in some ways SDMB-related, in some ways not.

I remember the first thing I learned from the SDMB; the thread I read on it, and the TMI thread, eventually hooked me: I learned that smoking a little tobacco occasionally won’t make me die of cancer at age 50. I never really liked cigarettes, but I smoke a little bit of pipe tobacco and (occasionally) cigars (and sometimes roll my own cigs if the mood strikes me); and I get a lot of enjoyment out of it, and probably don’t smoke enough to significantly affect my life.

So in the “trees” sense, I learned about tobacco. But in the “forest” sense, this led me down the road to understanding that my black-and-white conceptions of reality were too simplistic and that things generally don’t boil down to “right” and “wrong”, “do” and “don’t”. I realized eventually that every issue has a myriad of answers, and that every one of them may be correct in its own way for certain people in certain situations. Although my age (18) makes me an adult in the eyes of the law, in truth it is mainly this realization about the world, this shattering of the black-and-white/right-and-wrong goggles through which I viewed my universe, that makes me an adult. I’m sure it would have happened sooner or later, but I must credit the SDMB with at least taking part in the event.

I hate to hijack the thread, and I really hate to be all preachy, but: keep an eye on how much you do it, even if you’re not doing it much now, because it can snowball. I used to smoke a cigar when I played poker with the roommates one night a month – I figured, one night a month is no harm at all. A year or two after that, I was sitting in the living room and just got this inexplicable nicotine fit out of nowhere. I went out and bought a pack of cigarettes (before that, I’d hated cigarettes) and haven’t been able to stop smoking since. That was about 12 years ago.

For me, I’ve come to realise how important is the separation between church and state. I’d not opposed gay marriages before, but I’d never really given them much thought. Now I support them. I appreciate the passion and rigour with which many people conduct critical discussions, and I have been reminded of the need to stay true to my own convictions, while remaining open to the possibility that I am wrong on issues large (hard to accept) and small (easier to take).

Same here. I rarely participate in GD either, but I do watch the bigwigs and learn from them.

I’ve also learned to emotionally distance myself from a few issues (such as abortion) which are very close to my heart and I therefore have trouble discussing rationally.

Because of this board I am now in my 5th semester of college. (11 more to go) I have learned to be tolerant of other peoples ideas, learned that just because somebody says something or it is in print doesn’t make it correct, and learned how to find what I need to know on the internet. There is so much more, but I think I covered the major points. :smiley:

Right now I am pretty well sure I don’t have an addictive personality – I guess I’ll just say that I’ve picked up and dropped more addictive things than nicotine without any trouble. I do keep an eye on my usage patterns, though, and am quite careful.

Although I haven’t gone over to GD to play in ages, I have definitely grown. I’ve come to understand a lot more than I did about atheism and agnosticism, and can understand why people have those points of view, even if I can’t adopt either myself. I’ve had a chance to learn why people hold views which disagree with mine and come to respect them. Come on, one of the things which hooked me on this place was a civilized debate on abortion! (I can’t link to it – it was lost in the Winter of Our Miscontent, around 2002, if I recall). I’ve come to understand the point of view of conservative and Fundamentalist Christians, and such people themselves a lot better, for that matter.

I’ve also, by hanging out in MPSIMS and the BBQ Pit, come to learn more about people, what matters to them, and what doesn’t. I’ve commisserated and celebrated with people I’ve never met. I’ve become friends with people halfway round the world (looks at Ice Wolf), and halfway across the county (looks at Guinastasia).

You’ve taught me a lot, and I hope to continue learning from you.

CJ

I’ve grown. Take the earlier posts, average 'em up, and you have a pretty close approximation of my feelings.