That comment, from a co-worker, was interesting to me because really I'm not, at all. I think the person who said it meant to say something more along the lines of "I do not understand why you have thoughts and ideas I do not agree with, and aren't interested in defending them to me!" It's simple, really: if I know that we are going to fundamentally disagree on things that one or more of us find to be important, and don't think we're both capable of handling it gracefully, I default to maintaining a polite distance in the name of preserving harmonious relations. Because if I need to be around someone periodically, be it for work, school functions that both our children participate in, or because you're related by blood to someone I'm married to, I'm not going to change my stance on something personal in order to please you, and I'm also not going to try to evangelize you with my point of view with the expectation that you'll change YOURS, because a) that would be rude and b) my desire to avoid conflict outweighs any need I may feel to be right and have others agree with me.
In other words, I am okay with disagreeing with other people. Just because we don't see eye-to-eye on religion, or politics (my best friend offline is a gun-toting Republican, believe it or not, and we don't discuss politics and get along just fine), or childrearing practices, or workplace policy and procedure, or even if I just find your personality to be entirely false and abhorrent or suspect that you are mentally ill to a dangerous degree, doesn't mean that I'm going to draw attention to it. Instead, I'll most likely confine my remarks to you to observations on things we are commonly invested in, and then politely extricate myself from your company. Most people are fine with this; they either realize and agree with what I'm doing, or don't feel the need to pursue me when I withdraw, or just don't care and go about their business.
Other people though, see our difference of opinions as a challenge, a problem to be solved, and they then go balls-to-the-wall in pursuing my company for the express purpose of explaining to me how I am wrong and shoving their opinion down my throat. They exploit our necessary proximity in order to try and pry apart my defenses and shove their views in. It's like ideological date-rape, and when I rebuff their advances they take it personally and get nasty. They seek out third-parties and exclaim their outrage at my non-interest. They campaign against me and exaggerate the things about me that bother them to others. They engage in the offline version of concern-trolling, and attempt to minimize the loathesomeness of what they are doing by making it all about wanting to help me see the error of my ways. These people are a trial, and I hate to admit it, but I have sometimes allowed them to manipulate me into playing the role they want so badly to cast me in by speaking ill of them after they've come at me with such freaking determination. I hate that, because it just feeds into the whole issue, but I am not perfect, and then not only do I have the equivalent of a human hemorrhoid ON MY ASS, I've encouraged them. Damn.
To those who do this, I wish you would a) cut it the fuck out and b) take a step back and ask yourself why it is so important to you that we don't agree in the first place. If I'm just wrong, why aren't you able to let me be wrong and go about my wrong-minded business, unmolested? What does it say about your life that you are so heavily invested in mine, when all I've tried to be toward you is politely distant? I can be pleasant to you, even though you disagree with me and vice versa. If you aren't a complete hypocritical asshole, it's possible we could even be friends. Why can't you be at peace with that? Is it that you resent me for being confident enough in myself to handle being around people who believe differently? Are you uncomfortable on some level with what you profess to believe? Are you jealous in some way, and if so, why is your first impulse to try and destroy my serenity, rather than find your own? What does that say about you?
If you're one of these people, and I've attempted to hold you at arm's length, and you have, instead of accepting that, pursued me, harassed me, campaigned against me, tattled on me, and spent upward of eight hours poring over my blog, allow me to now use it as a means to ask that you kindly take a step back, re-evaluate your handling of things, and at least consider that I might've been right in my original appraisal of us as two people who will, for whatever reason, do best maintaining arm's-length relations.
In other words: Leave. Me. Alone. And I will happily extend that same courtesy to you, as I attempted to do previously, and we can both go about living our separate lives.