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Agreeing to Disagree

Have you ever been in a discussion and felt your point of view was not being heard? Or have you been so firm in your convictions that your sole goal was to convince others of how right you are?

Often while people talk, we're so busy formulating our own answers and thinking about what we're going to say –  even interrupting the other person in the process – that we lose an opportunity to learn.

I've gotten into my share of discussions turned debates (and eventually disagreements) over the years. I can attest to the frustration I've felt when faced with someone so focussed on convincing me of the validity of their ideas, that they haven't had the courtesy to really listen (let alone acknowledge) mine. And I have been guilty of doing the same.

Remember, there is no point of view that is absolutely right or absolutely wrong, so we should have the patience to discuss different opinions with an open mind. There is almost always something to be gained by sharing ideas - and that is specifically, broadening of our perspective.

With that in mind, let someone finish talking before rushing to answer. Consider their point of view. If you disagree, you can respectfully challenge them. This means being careful not to discredit them in the process. At the end of the day, the real value is in sharing ideas, not necessarily winning someone over to your point of view.

And if you’re not convinced of that, agreeing to disagree will usually simply save you a lot of grief - whether that be with your colleagues, your family or your partner. Remember, that doesn't mean you've given up. It means that you have the good sense to know the difference between avoiding topics and knowing when to stop talking about them.


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