The fine art of disagreeing agreeably
Marriage has taught me a lot of things, some of which are, to choose my battles wisely, learn to compromise, be slow to jump to conclusions, understand timing, to mention just a few. However the one I wish to talk about now is the fine art of disagreeing agreeably.
I call it a ‘fine art’ because it requires great skill and highly developed techniques which are, sadly, rather lacking in a lot of relationships today.
It is wishful thinking to believe that you can go through life without disagreements. People are as different and as unique as snowflakes which means we will not always be on the same page at the same time, if ever.
In our day-to-day dealings with other human beings, potential for conflict and disagreement is rife. With the advancements in technology, a huge proportion of our interactions and relationships are conducted electronically. Without the benefit of body language, facial expressions or hand gestures, there is even more room for misinterpretation and misunderstanding. I’m appalled when I read some of the slinging match threads on social media sites that pass for comments.
Trying to avoid disagreements is wisdom but totally shying away from it, is folly and an exercise in futility. Since it is inevitable, it behoves us to learn how to do it without destroying our relationships, and I’m not just talking about marriage.
Is it possible to disagree with another person’s point of view without provoking them or being provoked yourself? Most of the time, when we find ourselves in a situation where we disagree with something someone says or does, it almost always invariably leads to each party adopting a polarised “I am right, you are wrong”stance. We then get defensive and in trying to maintain our ‘rightness’, sometimes abandon the real issue and resort to trading insults.
The fact that you disagree with someone or vice versa doesn’t automatically make them a bad person. They simply have a different opinion to yours. Sometimes there isn’t necessarily a right or wrong opinion; it is just a different opinion. It is not always essential that either of you adopt the other’s opinion but it is usually helpful if you both acknowledge them without coming to blows.
Here are a few tips I’ve found helpful when I find myself in this position;
- Don’t take it personally. Don’t make it about you or about the other person, keep it about the issue.
- Choose your battles. Not every single thing is worth arguing about. Be the bigger man/woman, bite your tongue and keep your mouth shut. No one but a mad person likes to argue with themself. If your ‘opponent’ (and I use the word rather loosely) notices it’s not such a big deal to you, they will probably drop it and move on to something else.
- It’s ok to be ‘wrong’ sometimes. Have an open mind, you may actually be wrong. Don’t get so hooked up on proving that you are right to the detriment of the relationship.
- Be respectful and considerate. Don’t dismiss other people’s ideas or opinions simply because they differ from yours.
- Forget about winning or losing. You may win the battle but end up losing the war if you make every argument about winning and losing. Whereas you both can come out winners if you work to understand each other’s point of view.
- Be willing to apologise. In heated moments, you may say some hurtful things while trying to drive home your point. Don’t be too proud to admit it and say you’re sorry.
Have you got any tips for dealing with conflicts and disagreements? Please share them.
Thanks for stopping by.