How to Disagree…Nicely

People are going to disagree with one another on many topics. This is just a reality that we all face, but that doesn’t mean we still can’t get along with each other. During any discussion or conversation, you have a chance of encountering someone who has an opposing view toward your own opinion. Hopefully you don’t automatically respond in an aggressive or snappy manner or tone! Sometimes, we can have a kneejerk response to respond like this and end up turning a simple disagreement into an argument. Luckily, there are a several tips to follow when responding to opposing opinions while keeping the peace.

The first thing you need to do is to make sure the other person is done speaking. It’s very rude to interrupt someone, even if you don’t like what they’re saying. Plus, there’s another (often overlooked) reason why you should wait for them to finish speaking… That is to make sure that you grasp all that they are trying to say. You first need all the information that is being relayed to you to make an intelligent response. Don’t cut someone off and start arguing with them; be patient and listen. Being an active listener shows that you’re respecting the other person regardless of their views.

Next, you shouldn’t make any personal attacks. Just because you don’t like what someone is saying doesn’t mean you should begin name-calling. Not only is this a childish thing to do but you also ruin any chance of that person listening to your views. No one is going to hear your side of an issue if you make them feel attacked, and they will most likely reciprocate in the same manner. It’s okay if you disagree with a concept or belief, but only critique the idea not the person.

Another thing to remember is to only use facts in your argument. Now, this can be a tad confusing seeing as everyone likes to make claims they view as “fact.” The guideline here is to not make up or exaggerate any information you add to the points being made. Discussions that are centered around subjective topics such as the best food or film, for example, can’t really include many facts. Facts are useful in discussions about tangible things such as money and data, but are obviously helpful during any argument or disagreement. Simply stick to what you know is true, meaning that the other person can factcheck. Try to be as honest as possible!

Finally, be open about your opinion in a calm and respectful tone. People don’t want to be yelled at, so try keeping your tone at a moderate level. This shows maturity and a strong demeanor, and you’ll have a better chance of getting your point across.

You’re fully entitled to your opinion, just remember to show some class and disagree calmly. We tend to see the opposite of class in politics and many televised debates, and clearly that approach solves nothing. Humans are always going to disagree with one another, but the goal of a discussion is to find a solution that serves everyone.