February 1, 2015 at 11:12 pm #35564
Often when having conversations on the forum and life in general individuals have different viewpoints. It important to remember that a different opinion does not mean that anyone is being personally attacked. The methods outlined below are from one site and provide a basis for understanding disagreement.
How to Accept and Embrace Disagreement – from wikihow.com
Accepting and embracing disagreement is difficult for some people who seek harmony and cooperation all of the time. Yet, without dissent and differing opinions, the world would be a very bland and conformist place indeed. Embracing disagreement is a valuable way of learning new ideas, tempering your own ideas into workable outcomes, and reaching solutions that everyone can benefit from. Try the following steps for acceptance of the disagreeable.
1. Remember that disagreement does not equal conflict. Sometimes disagreement can lead to conflict, but it can also lead to discussion and learning. Indeed, provided you’re willing to engage in discussion, it is likely that learning about an opinion or perspective different from your own will broaden your understanding of an issue.
2. Always stay focused on the problem, not the person. By constantly returning to the core of the disagreement and staying focused on it, you can alleviate the all-too-easy tendency to start name-calling and picking on each other’s personal traits. Most of the time, who you each are and what you believe in is not at stake when you disagree––it’s an issue, and that issue is what needs to be refined and resolved, not the person! If you do find yourself inclined to name call or speak unkindly, consider the following:Ask yourself: Is it kind? Is it true? Is it necessary?How will allowing this to degenerate to the two of us picking apart each other’s personal values and beliefs or physical/personality features solve the issue itself? (It won’t.)Always be prepared to do “time out” if you feel overwhelmed, angry or liable to physically threaten or harm the other person. Cooling down is a right and a responsibility, not an afterthought.
3. Express disagreement respectfully. When someone makes a statement that you do not agree with, there are various ways to express your dissent. Almost yelling out “You’re SO wrong” isn’t a good one. Neither is making it seem that your option is the only one, such as saying “that’s a no-brainer”, thereby trampling on any opinion different from your own and invalidating their own thinking processes. This latter response is even more intimidating if the person hasn’t yet made up their mind and is still working through options; your comment pressures the person into seeing things your way. Instead, seek to make a “disarming” preliminary statement before you express your own opinion, which is different from theirs:”Interesting––it seems we have different points of view. Do you mind if I explain where I’m coming from?””Really? I’ve made different observations, probably because I had different experiences…””I value your ideas on this matter and I can see why you’re concerned about trying a different way. Perhaps we could look at ways to reduce your busy workload and to allow you more space to try this new approach?””I just wanted to run a different alternative by you that has the potential to save money and time. I’ll be happy to give more details if you’re interested.”
4. Avoid telling people that your opinion is “for their own good.” Another tactic to shut down disagreement, this is treating the person you’re disagreeing with as if he or she is a child. Think about how effective it is when you use it on a child––well, it’s even less effective on an adult! It basically says: “You’re too dumb to know the best solution or way to do things around here. I know better and I’m going to impose my will on you.” This can escalate a disagreement rather than quell it. By the time you find yourself saying this awful statement, it’s probable that the disagreement has somewhat escalated anyway, so throw water on the fire by being more accepting. Stop yourself from ever using this phrase again. Instead, acknowledge how the other person is thinking, notice what they’re already doing well and replace the desire to impose your will with something like:”I admire what you do and I don’t want to rearrange what works for you. I just wanted to share my experience when I did something similar before, in case you might like to cherry pick one or two of my ideas that might be useful to you.”
5. Exercise an open mind. Ask a lot of questions––try to understand why and how the person drew the conclusion that you disagree with. You might find that they’ve experienced things that you did not, and that those experiences can shed light on your own beliefs. Asking open questions and listening actively will be the best possible way to find out what they know and it can give both of you a breather from any current disagreement.Realize that people from different backgrounds and cultures may have very different ideas as a result of their upbringing and experiences. Their experiences are just as valid as yours. Seek to explore the interconnections rather than play up the differences. By combining your different perspectives, it’s possible to find a more universal and sustainable solution than simply imposing an order that feels right only to yourself and your life’s experience.
6. Use nonviolent communication. To prevent any disagreeable discussion from escalating into a heated argument, communicate empathetically by stating observations, feelings, needs, and requests in that order.Don’t mistake the phrase “I understand” for being empathetic. Although it is well intentioned, it has become commonplace to say “I understand, but…”. For example, “I understand, but I am still going to do X, Y, Z whatever you think.” As a result of this misuse of the term, most people will interpret “I understand” to mean that you don’t really care about their feelings or preferences and you’d like the conversation on this matter to stop. Replace the term with “I can see” or “I can tell”, or rephrase what you’ve understood their perspective to be as “You must be…”, as in “You must be sad that this happened.”To really show empathetic solidarity, consider expressing your understanding of the issue by explaining your own past experience. For example, say something like: “I’ve been through something similar in the past and I felt just like you do now.” Of course, this must be a genuine connection; don’t make up anything.
7. Take care not to express your disagreement using an apology phrase as a way of letting someone down and hoping they’ll leave you be and not disagree.”I’m sorry” is meant for apologizing for something you’ve done wrong or for hurting a person only; it is not meant for preceding a letdown or excusing yourself from hammering home your preferred point. For example, saying “I’m sorry I hurt your feelings” is fine, while “I’m sorry but you’re fired” or “I’m sorry for your inconvenience” is not acceptable. In the latter phrases, the speaker is distancing himself or herself from the listener and is attempting to excuse the action or inaction, which is truly upsetting for the listener. It’s a “kiss-off” and you’ll probably be immediately reminded of how this feels from a time you rang a call center about a problem with something you’ve bought! Instead, try the following phrases when expressing your disagreement:”I’m sorry you don’t like what I have to say, but…” becomes “I feel badly that I’ve caused a misunderstanding between us. What can I do to make this situation right?”
8. Embrace the difference. Somewhere in there, be sure to thank the other person for having the courage to express their opinion. Disagreement means that the person you are dealing with is bringing a different perspective into the mix and offering you a chance to broaden your horizons. It also means that they value you enough and trust you enough to voice a difference of opinion in your presence (you might also like to congratulate yourself for fostering such openness). The number one realization is that you can appreciate someone’s viewpoint without agreeing with it. For example:”You know, while I still think we have different approaches, I understand yours a little better now. Thanks for discussing it with me.””I really appreciate that you took the time to clearly explain to me how you see this matter. I hadn’t looked at it from this perspective before and it has given me much food for thought. I’ll definitely take into consideration the points you raised when I review this now.””I respect your opinions highly. In the current matter, I am bound to follow the workplace rules but perhaps in the future we could work on something to lobby for a change of these rules, if that’d be of interest to you.”
9. Know when to agree to disagree. If the discussion drags on in a stalemate of sorts, it’s probably better to move onto to talking about something that you do agree on. Indeed, the harder you push your agenda, the deeper the person disagreeing with you is likely to dig in his or her heels. If you push too hard, the other person may end up disagreeing for the sake of disagreeing, just to avoid being “swallowed up” by your will and to defend their own sense of self. The answer to this includes:Be tactful and diplomatic. Know when it’s best to sidestep or give the issue a break than to keep pummeling it.Acknowledge their feelings about the issue and see what alternative ways there are for resolving the issue over which you disagree. Lead with a solution rather than a negative or a refusal to budge.Remember that the listener is capable of working out things for himself or herself provided you step back. Make your preferences known, but leave it open to them as to how he or she wishes to reach a constructive outcome. For example, instead of saying: “You’re too worked up about this idea; senior management doesn’t listen to juniors”, say: “I can see why you want Mr Preston to realize this. The trouble is that he’s often too busy to catch him for any decent amount of time. However, maybe we can work on getting this idea to him through his trusted adviser, if you’re happy to talk to her about the idea.”February 2, 2015 at 2:48 am #35570
Great article now please send a copy to Obama!!! Just kidding! All great points. Freedoms and liberty give everyone the freedom to disagree and many good things come from these disagreements.February 2, 2015 at 3:19 am #35572
74, I agree with you in principal. There are times when it just will not work.
When I tell one of my troops to do something I expect compliance. Once I had a member of my group bad mouth me to others because of the order I gave. When that person came back from completing that task I took her aside. What I stressed was that I expect my order to be accomplished. If there were problems or questions then complete the task and come back and talk to me.
Complement in public and correct in private.
RobinFebruary 2, 2015 at 3:24 am #35573
Robin, This is something that happens all the time. Your statement is right on “Complement in public and correct in private.” but it is something that people have a hard time with.February 2, 2015 at 3:35 am #35575
I agree with you about this not appling to all situations. This would not be applicable to military types organizations where individuals are expected to complete orders or in any other hiarchy where there is vertical leadership. These methods are for when open dialog is appropriate.February 2, 2015 at 4:49 pm #35592
It was a good article. It reminds me of a course I took in grad school long long ago. Can’t remember its name but the gist was using an approach like this. “I’m OK, you’re OK, but we have this issue to resolve”. Basically keeping the focus on the issue rather than on the person. The issue could be the person’s behavior but even then you have a much better chance of reaching resolution if you focus on the effects of the behavior rather than on the person being the problem. “When you do ……, it…….”.February 3, 2015 at 7:37 pm #35727
Your method doesn’t work with psychopaths 74.February 3, 2015 at 7:44 pm #35728
True, but it’s not “my” method, only a sugested guide.February 3, 2015 at 11:01 pm #35750
No solution is 100% for anything in life. These approaches do help even if they don’t work with everyone.February 3, 2015 at 11:18 pm #35754
Well on a personal level I’d have to admit to being straight forward with an opposing view point. But never with more enthusiasm than the original poster. People just shouldn’t expect 100% agreement with their views.February 3, 2015 at 11:41 pm #35759
I even disagree with people I agree with! Everyone has a small different view about even what we all agree on. So when we disagree with someone there is always something that you may agree with that person.
It is to bad our President doesn’t have the time to read this post and maybe learn how to agree on something with the congress! Well that is not going to happen.February 4, 2015 at 12:47 am #35773
I accept and embrace with my non dominant side only, sometimes with a full firing grip! (Still holstered though).February 4, 2015 at 5:30 pm #35843
I get a lot of personal abuse from people on forums who don’t agree with my point of view.
British Survivalist.February 4, 2015 at 6:47 pm #35849
This my attitude toward hostile remarks….ya so? Ok big deal…..zzzzzFebruary 4, 2015 at 10:21 pm #35864
lonewolf, don’t let it get to you! I do not agree with everything here and I know many on this forum have the same feeling.
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