Healthy Disagreements: 11 Tips for Talking to Someone You Disagree With

talking to someone you disagree

10. DO: Teach And Be Teachable.

Good teachers are patient, gracious, and give people the space to discover things at their own pace. They don’t get mad at someone for not knowing something. Importantly, good teachers don’t mistake “uninformed” for “stupid.” Smart people can believe untrue or misleading ideas, and it doesn’t make them less smart. It means they might have gaps in their understanding or unreliable sources. Intelligence and education are different; remember not to confuse the two.

Be teachable, too. When we’re speaking to a peer, it goes a long way to allow ourselves to be challenged. Saying things like “I never thought about it that way,” or “That’s new to me, I’m going to read up on that” shows that we are a co-learner. If we want to teach, we need to be open to being taught.

A two-way exchange of information equalizes the power dynamic. People are more likely to open up when they are talking to a peer who is still on a learning journey, just like themselves.

Healthy Disagreements: 11 Tips for Talking to Someone You Disagree With
Having healthy disagreements

11. DO: Thank Them For Disagreeing.

This last one is big: Say “thank you” when someone takes the time to disagree. It may not seem like it, but disagreement is truly a gift. When someone disagrees with us, they didn’t have to take precious time out of their life to engage. They don’t owe us their attention or courtesy.

When they do choose to disagree with us in healthy ways, they are offering a courtesy. Try to recognize and honor the awkward beauty of that exchange.

In conclusion: Healthy disagreement is worth the effort.

It is indeed possible to have a conversation with just about anyone, on just about any topic, and not lose our nerve. However, healthy disagreement doesn’t magically happen. It’s hard work. It requires skills, practice, and courage. The work is worth it, however, because we need to disagree well in order to have strong communities and a strong society.

As we condition our conversational muscles, remember that we can’t control other people. We can’t decide who must agree with us, when, or to what extent. But we can build bridges instead of bonfires.

Related: Perception Vs Reality: 7 Things To Keep In Mind

Contact Melody at melodystanfordmartin.com. for such informative articles.


Written By Melody Stanford Martin
Originally Appeared On Psychology Today
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Healthy Disagreements: 11 Tips for Talking to Someone You Disagree With
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Healthy Disagreements: 11 Tips for Talking to Someone You Disagree With
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Melody Stanford Martin

Melody Stanford Martin is a social ethicist and communications expert, author of Brave Talk: Building Resilient Relationships in the Face of Conflict (Broadleaf Books, 2020), Founder of Brave Talk Project, Founder & CEO of Cambridge Creative Group, and a regular contributor to Psychology Today. Melody’s work focuses on rhetorical innovation, courageous community engagement, and out-of-the-box thinking to solve social problems.View Author posts