One thing we all have in common is that we don’t always agree with one another. Over time we’ve come to accept that there are times when we must respectfully disagree with someone and move forward. Unfortunately, it’s become increasingly difficult to agree to disagree with others when it seems so polarized and divided in America.
Television and social media reflect the strain political disagreements has placed on people with their family, friends and co-workers. This has only served to magnify the division, making it seemingly impossible to have a civil conversation with someone you don’t agree with. An argument with a loved one or family member could cause you many problems, and an argument with a boss or co-worker could cost you your job. If you find yourself in a heated exchange and you need to diffuse it fast, here are some ways you can politely end that difficult conversation.
When we’re arguing, typically we’re not listening, but only wanting to be heard. If you want to end an argument respectfully, stay quiet and let the person vent without interruption. You may feel pulled to argue with them, or defend yourself, or your point of view. But if you want to end the conversation on a positive note, it’s best to let them get in the last word.
Use your natural curiosity to ask questions of the person you’re arguing with. Do so without condescension or sarcasm, but with genuine interest. Even if you already know the answer (or don’t care to hear what it is), asking questions will diffuse the argument by giving the other person an opportunity to share their viewpoint with you. Try to remember that everyone’s reasoning- really does make sense to them; and often those belief systems began when they were very young and sometimes reinforced by their family of origin and life experiences. You can then end the conversation politely by saying something like, “That’s an interesting perspective. I never thought about it that way.”
Find Common Ground
To end an argument on a positive note, you can steer the conversation toward things you both agree on. It’ll be easier to end the discussion on a positive note. If they try to steer the conversation back to the heated issue, change the subject to something positive, or let them speak then say “I can respect that. Thanks for sharing your point of view with me.”
Remember the Golden Rule
The old adage “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is a common saying for a reason. Treating other people as you would like to be treated is one of life’s basic principles. When you vehemently disagree with someone, it’s difficult to treat them with kindness. By having empathy for others, you’ll develop character and patience; qualities that will serve you for a lifetime. We do not have to agree with others, to be kind toward them.
Are you struggling to get along with friends, family or co-workers? A licensed mental health professional can help equip you with the skills you need to improve your relationships. Call my office today and let’s schedule a time to talk.