Skip to main content

I’ve been giving much thought as of late about the words “for” and “against.” 

Given the heightened divisive and heated society in which we find ourselves, we must get better about using them responsibly.  

As prepositions, the key difference between the two words is that “against” is contrary, while “for” is moving towards something or someone. When you do or say something “against” someone or something, you oppose them or it.  

When you do or say something “for” someone or something, you are with them or it or moving towards them or it.

Simple words. Significant impact. 

As I have been unpacking these two words, three considerations have me preferring a “for” posture more often. I am sharing them here in hopes of generating introspection and thoughtful discussion.

“For” stimulates conversation…

I am “for…” versus I am “against…”    

Both important statements. Both evoke different feelings. I believe that the latter can “feel” more intimidating to the recipient, especially in today’s highly sensitized environment. At the same time, the former “feels” safer. I am not saying one is better than the other. Both have a place, and both are important.

I am saying that if one feels scarier and can shut a conversation down and the other feels safer and can open a conversation up, I prefer the one that keeps people engaged.  

Right now, I believe that “I am for” something is more likely to create an open dialogue. When people feel safe in a conversation, they will stay in the conversation. And we need to be talking.  

“For” promotes accountability.

 “Tell me more” is where accountability comes into play. If I’m now staying in the conversation, it’s because I want to know more:  

  • What are you moving towards?   
  • How will you get there?  
  • Who else is going there?  
  • What are your milestones?   
  • Describe success.
  • What are you doing about it?

When you say you are “for” something, you better be prepared to have answers.

If you don’t have answers or you haven’t at the very least spent time thinking deeply around them, I won’t believe that you are actually “for” it. 

Remember, “for” is the action of moving towards something, and if you are not actively moving – well, your “for” claim is hollow. 

You can “believe” in something, but If you are not moving, you are not actually “for” it. Saying you are “for” someone or something forces accountability. 

“For” is inviting me to seek to understand what you are doing. I want to know what you are doing to move towards “it” – what is getting you to the destination you are driving?  

You’ll need answers.

“For” radiates hope…

Being “against” feels past and current state. 

Being “for” feels like a current and future state. One more time here, I am not saying one is better than the other. Both have a place, and both are important.

I simply, yet deeply, like the feeling of hope that the future state holds. I can’t change the past, but I can influence the future. I have control of what I’m walking toward.

“For” is moving me towards that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. 

Something is inspiring, light-providing, and hope-filled when you say, “I’m FOR <insert your passion here.>”  

We need more hope.

“I am for…” “I am against…” Again, simple words. Significant impact.  

I think it is vital that we are more intentional about which word we choose and realize its impact on others and on our legacy.

We can all be people who stimulate conversation, are accountable to our words, and radiate hope.

Author Doreen Linneman

More posts by Doreen Linneman