To disagree is inevitable; we can’t always agree with everyone’s ideas, opinions, or decisions. We can disagree with anyone in our life, our Parents, Friends, Colleagues at work, anyone in particular, down to the seller at the market.
There are right and wrong ways to present your arguments; unfortunately, many individuals fail to take note of the right ways to go about it when disagreeing. They eventually say things to hurt the other person’s feelings or make the individual tense or angry, leading to an unproductive conversation.
Whenever we find ourselves in a situation where we disagree with other people’s opinions, it is best to remember what’s morally and emotionally at stake to avoid losing friendships and relationships due to words said during heated conversations.
Below are healthy ways to disagree:
- Stay calm: Train yourself to stay calm, especially when you’re angry or passionate about the conversation.
- Listen: It is easier to listen when you are calm. Listen to the other person’s point of view. It’s possible to see things from a different point of view when you choose to listen actively.
- Don’t take it personally: Keeping your emotions out of it can help you effectively present your ideas without deep feelings. Except the person verbally attacks you, try not to take their words personally.
- Never assume in a disagreement: Instead, ask reflective questions that will help shed light on the person’s statement. Ways to respectfully ask questions include “Is it possible to say more about…?”, “why is that important to you…? or “can you explain more about what you mean…?” it shows you’re curious about their opinion and experience.
- Show respect through body language and choice of words: Avoiding toxic words like name-calling and curse words can go a long way in having a productive conversation. Also, avoiding body language like “rolling the eyes” and “hissing” is crucial.
- Know when to call it quit if things get too heated. Sometimes, walking away is the best thing you can do if you figure out the conversation is going haywire. This tactic helps save relationships that are valuable to you
- Remember, it’s not always about winning the argument. Sometimes, it’s about making peace. You can always agree to disagree.
It is worthy of note that all of these steps take practice. It takes commitment and intentionality to put in the effort needed.
Staying steadfast to healthy behaviours is a mental health self-care practice.