How To Disagree
The beautiful and sometimes frustrating part of life is that we’re all different. With our own histories and experiences, we see things different ways, and often that leads to disagreement. Today I want to share what I’ve learned about how to fairly, honestly, and effectively disagree with someone.
First, it’s important to not wrap yourself in the idea that you have to be right. If we disagree with someone and engage them about it, it’s likely because we want to convince them of our view point. If that’s the intent of the interaction, then you need to be prepared to change your perspective because that’s the other person’s objective as well. If you want someone else to be open to a new way of thinking, you first must be open to a new way of thinking, and setting a constructive, non-defensive, inquisitive tone to the conversation will be mutually beneficial.
Then, when it comes to the core argument, don’t seek to prove the other person wrong. Any form of personal attack will violate the openness of the conversation and it can turn defensive very quickly. So the best thing to do is ask clarifying questions, have them elaborate on points you don’t understand, and after knowing what they believe you can share your honest perspective on their opinion.
Something that goes a long way is communicating how your opinions have changed based on their insight. Although it may only be subtle, it affirms that you are listening, internalizing, and interested to learn. In approaching the conversation as a mutual learning opportunity, you encourage the other person to be more open to learning as well through your actions.
At the end of the day, sometimes it’s just not worth it to align on everything with everyone. Pick your battles, know that everyone is entitled to seeing things their own way, and have confidence in yourself, your intuition, and your own perspective.