How to disagree yet maintain mutual respect


Let's face it... there are people who disagree with us! Sometimes they have a very, very different view on politics, religion, or dancing. In some cases, no matter what we say, they are going to disagree with us. Sometimes we might be fortunate enough to be able to at least agree on a point or two, or provide a clue to the other person that might lead them to seek out more information later that could change their opinion (even if very slowly).

And of course, it is usually worthwhile to be able to have some empathy, and try our best to see things from the other person's perspective. Maybe we are nearly 99.9% sure we are right, but trying to see the other person's view, can help solve deeper issues, even if we are right. But trying imagine we "could" have missed something I think can show some we respect the other person.

Also, I usually try to avoid a sense of finality where possible. For example, even if I believe it, I don't bring out the idea that I would NEVER see it their way.

So those are a few points, but what are some of your strategies?


Well-Known Member
Just because I disagree with someone on some viewpoints doesn't mean I dislike them as a person, and a lot of people struggle with that concept. If you're religious/atheistic/conservative/liberal/etc, you must be a bad person! Which is just BS.

While I'm opinionated, and often passionately so, a well-worded argument can often change my viewpoint. I am much more put off by a person with rigid views, who steadfastly refuses to see other perspectives no matter how well presented, than by someone who holds a different opinion but is flexible in their thinking.


Well-Known Member
With age and experience, I've gotten better at walking away from a useless fight. Better, but not perfect...I still love me a little internet drama. And when someone is illogical, I sometimes can't help myself. Surely, if I just keep explaining where they're going wrong, they'll eventually get it! (no. they don't.)
I love that there's a thread about this! This is something I think about a lot actually.

I'm a little strange, I guess, because I love a good argument. I rarely hope to change someone's mind however, I just love hearing people talk passionately about something, think critically, and defend themselves. I love running into people I disagree with because I learn so so so much from them.

I agree that empathy is important as well. You've got to approach people openly. I love the mental gymnastics I have to play as I begin to see things from another perspective.

Unfortunately it's a real balancing act though. As a real passionate person myself, it's too easy to get carried away. And disagreeing with someone, even respectfully, is never going to change someone's mind. If you really want to do that you have to play the long game, and you have to find ONE thing you can agree on as a starting point. No one likes to hear how they're wrong, so without some commonality, without first acknowledging how they are right, they will never listen to you.

In the short term though, discussions can be a lot of fun. I've made some great friends that way.

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