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I'm the kind of person who does not take sides. Not just politically, but in any debate, dispute, argument, etc. For example, Democrat vs. Republican, or Trump vs. Clinton, or Chevy vs. Ford, or Mom vs. Dad (in an argument), etc. I stay in the middle of such situations. Sure, I choose bits and pieces which I agree with from each side, but I also acknowledge that each side will have its pros and cons.

What word (or phrase) can one be labeled to describe this state of mind?

For example...

I can't choose a side because I'm a [WORD], I stay neutral.

The only word that comes to mind is "neutralist", but I made that word up.

  • 3
    Humorously, “Switzerland” is reasonably common. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Feb 24 '17 at 17:01
  • You could also look up Mugwump. – vickyace Feb 24 '17 at 17:21
  • @vickyace Don't think so, that looks to be solely describing a particular political group. – Jerry Dodge Feb 24 '17 at 17:26
  • It isn't clear what you're going for. Not taking sides could be uninvolved or staying out of it. You could be in an information gathering mode to eventually take a side. You could continue to accumulate information from both sides but remain unaffiliated. You could be in a debater role, where you would argue either side with no personal position. You could try to be a moderator or buffer between people on both sides. You could try to be an arbitrator to help people on both sides reach some common ground. You could be a critic, skeptic, or commentator, keeping both sides factually honest. – fixer1234 Feb 24 '17 at 18:23
  • @JanusBahsJacquet, lol! I've also heard "United Nations" used in that sense, again humorously. – alwayslearning Feb 24 '17 at 18:41

10 Answers 10

3

Perhaps "nonpartizan" (with a Z) will work for you:

Nonpartizan

  • A person who doesn't support one group over another; one who is nonpartisan.

(TFD) (Princeton WordNet) (MWD)

  • 1
    Wow, that use of s and z sure makes things confusing :-/ – Jerry Dodge Feb 24 '17 at 17:23
  • Yeah, it's not ideal and it isn't a widely used word, but it would fit if nothing else does. If you don't try and use them together, it shouldn't be too much of an issue. – Hank Feb 24 '17 at 17:24
  • That looks really wrong. How did that get into TFD? – Mitch Feb 24 '17 at 18:00
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    I see dictionary references to it, so it must be a thing. And wordnet is even more confirming. I've just never seen that before and am curious about the history. But I think your differentiating between 'partizan' as the person and 'partisan' as the adjective is not a thing; wherever 'partisan' occurs, 'partizan' is (much less common and old-fashioned) alternative. – Mitch Feb 24 '17 at 18:23
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    @Mitch I'll try to change the differentiation without adding more confusion. – Hank Feb 24 '17 at 18:25
3

A centrist is:

1 (often capitalized): a member of a center party 2 : a person who holds moderate views

The centrist would stay in the middle, in terms of the arguments. This works well for Democrat versus Republican; Chevy vs. Ford not so well.

  • It's actually a close call between this one and the one I accepted. – Jerry Dodge Feb 25 '17 at 2:52
2

Disinterested works, because it means you're not taking sides and not judging. Here is the relevant definition of disinterested from Dictionary.com:

unbiased by personal interest or advantage; not influenced by personal motives

  • 2
    Disinterested is an excellent suggestion, Lola, but to make the answer a one-stop shop for people who want to understand (a) why it's an excellent suggestion and (b) why they should trust your opinion on this point, you would need to to add a relevant definition from a recognized authority (a dictionary, in this case). Please consider doing so. – Sven Yargs Feb 26 '17 at 8:47
  • Thank you for the guidance. Dictionary.com defines disinterested as "unbiased by personal interest or advantage; not influenced by personal motives" – Lola Feb 27 '17 at 7:53
  • I've added the definition you provided to your answer, along with a link to it and a bit of additional formatting. I've also upvoted your answer in acknowledgment of your effort to fill out the text and make it more useful to readers. Thanks! – Sven Yargs Feb 27 '17 at 8:49
1

Perhaps

from oxford living dictionaries

uncommitted ADJECTIVE

1 Not committed to a cause, activity, etc. ‘uncommitted voters’

I was uncommitted in my parents dispute over household budget priorities.

That would still suggest that you might be willing to take a side at some point in time.. not that you were determined to remain that way and not that you had beliefs in the middle necessarily.

1

fence-sitter (this dictionary doesn't include a hyphen, but I would if I used the word in a written context, and there are other internet dictionaries which do hyphenate, e.g. dictionary.com)

fence sitter

n. Informal

One who takes a position of neutrality or indecision, as in a controversial matter.

1

An agnostic is a person who holds neither of two opposing positions on a topic. (Dictionary.com, #3)

Agnostic, as an adjective, not taking a stand on something, especially not holding either of two usually strongly opposed positions' (Dicitonary.com #6)

Indifferent is an adjective meaning having no bias, prejudice, or preference; impartial; disinterested'. (Dictionary.com #2) Impartial and disinterested are also candidates.

Apathetic, meaning not interested or concerned. (Dictionary.com #2)

1

In this context I find non-confrontational would fit pretty elegantly.

I'm non-confrontational, I stay neutral.

Another option:

I'm passive, I stay neutral

1

unaffiliated or independent

This is inspired by the idea of people who don't declare a party affiliation when they register to vote (at least in the U.S.), for example, people who don't register as Republican or Democrat or Green or whatever. (For those not in the U.S. I will explain that the downside of this is that you don't get to vote in any party's primary, which in some places means you don't get a meaningful vote in choosing, for example, your mayor or your governor.)

Examples of usage:

I'm not choosing a side because I'm unaffiliated.

Or

I'm not choosing a side because I'm an independent.

The possible downside of these two words is that probably, people will start thinking about political parties, whether they are relevant to the discussion or not.

0

How should anyone know why you are neutral? If you aren't going to be specific, why not just say because you are neutral?

  • Ok that's not very helpful but did you even try to search in a thesaurus or synonym website? – Hector von Vector Feb 24 '17 at 17:10
  • Don't see how this answers the question. The context matters. Of course I can say "I'm neutral", already established that. I'm looking for a label I can place on myself (or anyone for that matter). – Jerry Dodge Feb 24 '17 at 17:16
  • 1
    Answers are not the place for making comments. Please wait until you have sufficient reputation to make comments. – Hank Feb 24 '17 at 17:16
  • Jerry, you could even say You are a neutral. – Hector von Vector Feb 24 '17 at 20:30
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    @HectorvonVector You don't get to ignore the parts of the question you don't agree with. The OP gives an example usage, with a blank for you to fill in with a noun. You're comment suggesting "You are a neutral" would've answered the question correctly, but not your current answer. Also, you didn't even phrase it like an answer, but as a question regarding why the OP is looking for a label. – Hank Feb 24 '17 at 20:37
0

Perhaps you see yourself as serving a role:

I can't choose a side because I'm a mediator, I stay neutral.

A mediator is:

: one that mediates; especially : one that mediates between parties at variance
Merriam-Webster

Similarly for its synonym, moderator.

I suggest a role, because a classification, like independent, can still choose a side. The only reason to always remain neutral is because there is a reason to appear impartial.

If you are not moderating the two sides, then your sentence implies an incapacity to do so.

I can't choose a side because I'm a robot, I stay neutral.

One definition of robot is:

1.2 Used to refer to a person who behaves in a mechanical or unemotional manner.
‘public servants are not expected to be mindless robots’
Oxford Dictionary (US)

  • Indeed, that might come into play in some situations. However, I don't attempt to moderate such situations. Now Independent may be more applicable, but it's still a bit too broad. – Jerry Dodge Feb 25 '17 at 2:49

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