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
tips that you can start applying immediately…

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
disagree with.

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.

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2 thoughts on “How to Disagree Without Arguing

  1. Pingback: Leadership Thought #291 – Don’t Fall In Love With Your Own Opinions « Ed Robinson's Blog

  2. Pingback: Don't Fall In Love With Your Own Opinions

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