Voicing disagreement is difficult. We often want to align with others and we don’t want to stand out. There is value in having conversations with people with whom you don’t necessarily see eye-to-eye with. You might learn something new and it can deepen your personal relationships. It is possible to disagree without being disagreeable. You can work on how you discuss your thoughts and opinions with others.Try these strategies to disagree with grace.
Try taking deep breaths when you find yourself getting worked up, or politely change the topic. Being aware of your emotions will help you control them and lessen tension with others.
It’s important to determine what you hope to achieve from the conversation. Do you want to change their mind or just understand their point of view? Attainable goals will help lessen tension.
Accept the other person’s thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and experiences as understandable or valid for them. You can do this by expressing what you understood about their beliefs and feelings, without being disparaging.
If you’re asking questions, ask in a way that shows you understand the context, without being boastful. Don’t ask tentatively, because that may lead to condescension.
We may agree more than we think. When you try to find commonalities, it promotes openness. This way you can create a sense of acceptance and serve as a bridge.
The word “but” erases what was just said. Use phrases like “at the same time” or ask a question instead. Don’t try to score points. Keep the conversation constructive.
Don’t use personal insults to degrade the other person’s argument. It is disrespectful and hurtful. If the other person uses this tactic, exit the conversation. Establish personal respect boundaries.
Differences can illuminate, broaden your horizons, provide growth and help you gain new insights. Use it as an opportunity to appreciate the value their opposing view can add to your own understanding.
These tips should help keep the lines of communication open, even across what may seem like irreconcilable differences of opinion.
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