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Conflict resolution, Interpersonal relationships

How to Disagree Without Being Disagreeable

The Argument

The Argument (Photo credit: roeyahram)

No two people always agree. Sooner or later there will be something that wedges between them and causes a rift. They will disagree, sometimes mildly and the matter can be resolved with an arch of the eyebrows and a nod of the chin, but sometimes they will disagree vehemently and each side will dig in their heels, roll up their sleeves, and prepare for battle.

Disagreements are a part of life. I have my opinion, you have yours, they clash . . . the makings of a disagreement. There’s little we can do to avoid these types of conflict, what we can control, however is how we handle disagreements. And how we handle them will reveal a lot about our character.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you disagree that will keep you from being disagreeable:

  • Know your position and believe in it. Don’t disagree just for the sake of disagreeing. Most often that kind of attitude is driven by pride and is like throwing hot sauce on plate full of jalapeno peppers.
  • Determine immediately if the disagreement is worth taking on. Some things are simply not worth discussing. Don’t blow hot around just because you can.
  • Be polite and respectful. Never let the conversation deteriorate into name calling and insult flinging. Words will be spoken that can’t be taken back. And yes, words can hurt.
  • Avoid the use of absolutes. “You always take the other side.” “You never listen to me.” They’ll become a hurdle that can’t be jumped.
  • Keep your cool. No matter how passionate you are about the subject or how emotionally charged the issue is, don’t let emotions rule. Remember, the only person you can control is yourself. Don’t let what the other person says affect the way you behave.
  • As much as possible, state facts and minimize opinions. No one can argue with facts. They may argue over how those facts are interpreted but the facts themselves are truth. Focus on the truth.
  • Mind yourself. Don’t push blame around, don’t point fingers, don’t divert attention away from yourself. Take responsibility for your own position and words and attitudes.
  • Listen to and seek to understand the other person. If you’re only in a conversation to state your points and verbally bully the other person, walk away. The goal of every disagreement should not be to get your way but to understand the other person’s way.
  • Know when to call it a day. If the wheels are spinning and no traction is to be found sometimes the two parties just have to agree to disagree. Be civil about it and part on good terms. The conversation may resurface and when it does you’ll be in a good position to step back up to your soap box.
  • Know when to concede. Allow yourself to be persuaded or corrected. Pride serves no good purpose. If you’re wrong admit it, if you’ve changed your position state it. Being honest and humble will go much farther than stubbornly standing your ground when your argument has fallen around you.

Remember this . . . there is life outside a disagreement. At the time it may seem the balance of the world as we know it hangs on you making your point and persuading the other person to see it your way but the world will do just fine without your words. Really. Enter into every disagreement with a proper perspective and right attitude. If you have neither, walk away before real harm is done.

So now it’s your turn. What do you keep in mind when disagreeing with someone else to keep from being disagreeable?

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About michaelkingbooks

I write stories of faith and family, love and loss, heartache and triumph. Here I blog about faith, relationships, and genuine living.


6 thoughts on “How to Disagree Without Being Disagreeable

  1. Reblogged this on MIKE DELLOSSO and commented:

    It’s okay to disagree, but there’s a way to do it without being disagreeable. Note to self: especially apply these suggestions when disagreeing with my wife.

    Posted by mikedellosso | July 2, 2012, 9:26 am
  2. I ask myself whether it is more important to be right or be related, or in relationship. I stop to ask why it’s so important to be right. It usually has nothing to do with the conversation or confrontation.

    Posted by goldenprayerbear | July 2, 2012, 9:51 am
    • Great point! And one that goes right to the heart of the matter. Every time we enter into a disagreement we should do a heart check and if our heart isn’t in the right place, back away and approach the subject when we’re in the right frame of heart. Thanks!

      Posted by michaelkingbooks | July 2, 2012, 11:46 am
  3. Good post. Needed to hear that today. Sigh.

    Posted by Nikole Hahn | July 2, 2012, 1:45 pm


  1. Pingback: Michael King–Stories of Faith and Family | One Desert Rose - July 6, 2012

  2. Pingback: Aspergers – How do you know if someone has it? « My Shepherdstown - August 4, 2012

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