In order to have amazing relationships whether at work or in personal life, it’s very important not just to build connection and rapport, but also to learn how to disagree agreeably without personal attacks. Unless you are living in a fantasy ‘yes’ world, chances are, you will be dealing with people who might not agree to the way you think or vice versa. Many times, when disagreement happens, some people take it personally, get offended and angry or hurt. That might cause a strain in the relationship, sometimes where both sides end up attacking each other and cause irreparable damage.
In order to not let the disagreement cause a fatal blow to the relationship, and to keep it friendly, kind and loving, it’s necessary to put your differing or opposing viewpoint across in an amicable way that doesn’t hurt the relationship too much. “Is it even possible?” you might think. Yes, it is, as long as you are mindful of building bridges of connection and validation while you are in the process of disagreeing.
One common example in these times of the pandemic is wearing a mask in public. Some people totally believe that the mask protects from the virus while others say that it’s just a way to control the common man. It doesn’t matter what side you are on, there will be some folks who might support the other side.
9 Tips To Disagree Agreeably:
1) Be mindful of not attacking the other person, only disagreeing with that particular viewpoint.Many times, when you don’t agree with what the other person is saying or vice versa, tempers flare and people start attacking each other. The only thing that does is break the relationship. Keep your calm and present your viewpoint in a cordial manner. “We are all free to disagree, just do it respectfully.”
2) Don’t bring up all past instances of when the other party was wrong.
When you want to disagree, be clear about only opposing that particular viewpoint. This is not the time to bring up the past instances when the other party was wrong as that will make the other party even more defensive.
Be aware of keeping your tone respectful. “One of the best ways to influence people is to make them feel important.” — Roy T. Bennett
3) You can have a good relationship without agreeing to everything — In order for a relationship to be healthy, both parties need to not feel the pressure to say yes to everything. Healthy interaction and sharing differing viewpoints are the key to long term relationships. An egotistical ‘My way or highway” approach is good for no one. When you don’t see things the way the other person does, ask clarifying questions.
4) Make sure the other person feels ‘seen’ and ‘heard’. Most people don’t like to be ordered around or to be told that their viewpoint is not correct. So, when you need to do it, make sure you are being empathetic and understanding towards the other person. It might be more effective to make it like a request rather than a command or order.
5) Keep the dialogue open: It’s critical to keep the dialogue open and the conversation going. Don’t try to walk off just because the other person did not get your viewpoint. Try to understand their model of the world; thus, influence them. “Influence is our inner ability to lift people up to our perspective.” — Joseph Wong. Be open to negotiating a solution.
6) Ask the other person, how can you be supportive of them.
It’s necessary to offer support to have a good relationship. It’s even more necessary to show your support when you are in disagreement with the other person so that the other person is aware that even though you might mot align with their thought process in this particular instance, it does not affect your relationship as a whole. That will help make the other person feel secure and more prone to see where you are coming from.
7) Be aware of your tone: Many times, your tone changes when your emotions are charged. What is said with an angry tone makes the receiver defensive whereas if something is said in a loving, respectful tone, makes the receiver more open to the viewpoint. Repair only happens when we build connection and understanding, deepening our sense of belonging and security.
8) Let go of rigidity and be flexible to others’ model of the world.
Don’t let your ego and pride make you rigid. Be open and flexible. Instead of becoming a naysayer, try to be compassionate about the other person’s point of view and understand where they are coming from. Before voicing your disagreement, make sure that you have really listened to the other person’s point of view.
9) What do you want to achieve with this debate?
Be clear about the rationale of why you don’t agree and what you are trying to accomplish. Do your research before challenging the other person’s point of view and be willing to accept when you are wrong.
To sum up, Dave Willis has wisely said, “One of the truest signs of maturity is the ability to disagree with someone while still remaining respectful.”
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