Confession: I hate conflict. I used to hate disagreements, too, because they often lead to conflict. Luckily, I discovered a few phrases that are much more likely to turn a disagreement into a discussion rather than a fight.
Most of these magic words require that you actually listen to what the other person has to say instead of formulating your response while they’re still talking. They also require that you don’t take the other person’s point of view personally. (You didn’t form your opinion based solely on their views did you?)
That’s a fair point – When someone you disagree with makes a fair point, let them know. If you refuse to acknowledge it and become defensive, THAT will lead to conflict.
I hadn’t considered that – Often we don’t consider every angle of the opposing viewpoint, and this is nothing more than admitting that you hadn’t considered the thing they just said. It in no way implies that their point will change your mind, only that you hadn’t considered that one.
I’ve never looked at it from that angle – See above
That’s an interesting point, I’ll have to consider it – Again, considering is not conceding, it’s simply contemplating, in a meaningful way, what the other person just said. It likely won’t change your mind at all, but you’ll have shown the other person a level of respect that’s hard to find nowadays. You may surprise yourself and find that their point makes you reconsider your own opinion. You may also find that you agree with that one point, but it doesn’t change your overall opinion on a matter. Or… you may find that, upon consideration, it doesn’t change anything at all for you.
I can see where you’re coming from – Again, it doesn’t mean you agree, just that you can see their side.
I think we need to agree to disagree on this one – Most disagreements are futile undertakings if you’re attempting to change the other person’s mind, especially on polarizing topics like religion or politics. If you want to remain on good terms with some people you’re going to have to agree to disagree. Reasonable people don’t expect all of their friends, family members, colleagues, etc. to hold identical opinions to theirs.
It’s not imperative that you use my words exactly. What is important, is that both your words and tone are respectful. To do that, aim for a dialog instead of a disagreement and be open to understanding their side. Most people want to be heard and understood, more than they want you to agree with them. If you remember to be respectful of others’ opinions while also being curious how they came to hold those opinions, you’ll have a lot fewer disagreements and conflicts. You might actually find yourself having some honest-to-goodness juicy discussions where you find out that “the other side” has thought things through a lot more than you’ve given them credit for.
Do you have any magic words that keep your disagreements from turning into conflict? If so, I’d love you to share them in the comments below.
PS I’d also love it if you shared this post with your peeps on social media.