How to Disagree Without Arguing
Have you noticed that most of the people you interact with in life are going to disagree with you on at least a
few things? Unless you've been living under a rock, the answer is yes.
But you probably also learned that it's important to be able to assert your own position without getting
ensnared up in a petty argument.
If you're curious about the best way to disagree with someone without harming the relationship, here are six
personal development tips that you can start applying
1. Never Argue With a Fool
One of the most important ways to disagree with someone without causing an argument, is to simply avoid
interactions with people who argue just to argue. In other words, if you can tell that someone is wasting a
contrary opinion simply for the sake of engaging you in a debate, don't waste your time. Simply acknowledge your
own disagreement in the silence of your heart and move on.
People are seldom if ever persuaded by debating, and engaging someone who "just likes to debate"
sets you on the same juvenile level as them. There's an old saying that goes "Never argue with a fool because
people watching from a distance may not be able to tell the difference." Remember this the next time someone
disagrees with you, and choose your battles accordingly.
2. Focus On Understanding First
Most of the time, when someone seems to be arguing with you all they're trying to do is get you to understand
their point of view. The problem is that many of us get confused and think that if we affirm to someone that we
understand them that we are somehow agreeing with them.
But the moment you begin to focus on understanding someone, and demonstrating to them that you understand them,
they'll be much more likely to respect you...even if you disagree.
3. Value the Truth Above All
Sometimes, disagreeing with a person is not the best course of action. After all, there will be times when you
are wrong and the other person is right...but your pride simply keeps you from admitting that you're wrong.
The next time you find yourself in a discussion where he seemed to be disagreeing with the person, switch your
focus and concentrate on making the point of the discussion a search for what's true.
You never know what you might learn if you just learn to listen and focus on truth instead of on your opinion or
the other person's opinion.
4. Offer Your Opinion as "Food for Thought"
Instead of offering your opinion as being counter to the other person's, offer it as "something to think about"
instead. This can be a very effective way of presenting your opinion without offending someone.
For instance, if someone tells you that their interpretation of something is _____, offer your view by saying
something like: "That's an interesting point, but here's something else to think about..."
This way, you're affirming their viewpoints before suggesting yours, and you're suggesting it as a question
instead of the statement of truth.
5. Watch Your Tone
Everyone knows that the tone in which you say something speaks volumes and that it's sometimes more than the
statement itself. Since it can be very difficult to read whether or not there is judgment, agitation, anger or
arrogance in your voice, practice recording yourself while you're talking about something that you strongly
Really take the time to describe why you disagree with it, and listen to the recording after you're done. You
might be surprised at what kinds of hidden messages there are in the tone of your voice. You'll also be much
quicker to correct your tone and to speak with respect to people, even when you're disagreeing with them.
6. Know Your Motives
This is probably the most important thing you can do when it comes to relating with people that you disagree
with: know your motives. Really stop and ask yourself whether you are disagreeing with the person or if you're
simply trying to be heard and understood. Most of the time, people will continue to voice opposing opinions if they
don't feel that they are being heard.
If they continue to feel that they're not being heard or understood, they sometimes start belittling the other
person's viewpoints just to "get back at them." So really search yourself and find out whether or not you are
voicing your opinion for the sake of contributing to the interaction, or if you're just wanting someone to hear you
and understand you.
TIP: If you have strong opinions which are getting you into arguments with other people, it might be a good idea
to find out why you feel so strongly about them. Most often defensiveness towards others is due to inner conflict.
Working these kinds of things out can make your interactions with other people much better and improve relationships.
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