How to Disagree Agreeably

Written By: Ken Morton, Sr.

Navigating Disagreement: Building Bridges Instead of Burning Them

It is becoming clearer that in our modern-day society that when people disagree, friends can be lost, families can be broken up and relationships destroyed and even ended.  Politeness and courtesy in interpersonal interactions contribute to a positive social climate reducing stress and promoting psychological health.  Surveys have thousands of people have had the following results:

  • 85% of survey takers said civility in society is worse than 10 years ago.
  • 29% said social media is primarily responsible.
  • 24% blamed biased medias.
  • 34% said family & friends are responsible for improving civility.
  • 27% said it’s the responsibility of public officials to appropriately change the culture of disagreeing.
  • 11% said is community leaders who need to change and become better examples of how people should communicate.

Principles for how to create Disagreements Positively.

  1. Both people have legitimate right to feel & think the way they do.
  2. If just one of the disagreeing participants wins the argument, both lose.
  3. Put downs and name calling are forbidden.
  4. Use your ears more than your mouth – the 80/20 rule.
  5. The goal of conflict is unity & understanding.
  6. Use “I” statements such as – “I feel” and “I am concerned”.
  7. Ask questions first for a better understanding of “Why”.
  8. Attend to Tone! It is about 5 times more important than what is said.
  9. Possibly call for a timeout & face the issue later when both sides have had a chance to calm down.