Disagreements

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Everyone who has had a friend for more than 10 minutes knows that disagreements happen. Sometimes I feel like this problem has become worse recently because we are more willing to put our opinions out there for everyone to see. Even -- or especially -- the unpopular ones. And sometimes it seems we are living in an age of everyone being easily offended. Disagreements are bound to happen.

Ideally, the debate will happen in person. It’s easier to have an idea of what someone is thinking when we’re looking them in the eyes. And when we’re sitting there reading someone’s expression, it’s more straightforward to know if we’ve pushed the other person too far and need to back off.

But reality is many disagreements happen digitally. I have had several situations where I been in a disagreement with family or friends in a public, or semi-public, electronic setting. Assuming you want to maintain the relationship, the best advice I can give in this situation is to talk with them in person, if possible. If that’s not possible, I try to individually contact them either via text message, phone call or DM. I have had good luck with this.

It also helps to lead with an apology: swallow that pride and show some humility. Even if it was completely the other person’s fault, we can find a way to share some blame in the disagreement. It’s disarming when we lead with humility.

I also have to be careful to make sure I’m not making a backhanded apology as well “Oh I’m sorry you believe something so stupid,” is not an apology and will only exacerbate the situation. It helps me to stop and think about putting the relationship first. This centers my thinking and helps me determine what is actually important.

When two people grow closer they’re bound to bump into things they disagree on. This is normal. I believe it is unlikely that there is anyone in the world that I agree with 100% on all topics. But I consistently remind myself that I can agreeably disagree with my friends and family and still continue to love them.

-Mitch