How to Disagree Without Arguing

 

Every individual carries a unique set of opinions, beliefs, and perspectives about the world.  Personal preferences are a large part of what make people interesting!  Sometimes, however, competing opinions cause hard feelings and anger.  Here, I present a set of assertive skills to express disagreement without expressing hostility.

“Arguing” usually occurs when two people consider each others’ opinions invalid and wrong, while in a disagreement, people uphold their own point of view but maintain respect for the other person’s opinion. 

 

Assertive Skills to Disagree Without Arguing

  • Look the other person in the eyes when speaking to him/her
  • Use a calm, even tone of voice
  • Speak at a regular volume
  • Use precise language rather than exaggerations.  (Avoid terms like “always” and “never.”)
  • Be respectful of the other person at all times
  • Maintain friendliness.  This is a conversation, not a competition.
  • Accept the other person’s point of view as valid
  • Offer to “agree to disagree”
  • Thank the person for their willingness to have a discussion

 

These strategies for How to Disagree Without Arguing are excerpted from Session 7 of How to Be Angry: An Assertive Anger Expression Group Guide for Kids & Teens.  For more information or activity ideas on how to disagree without arguing, please check out How to Be Angry on this site or on amazon.com.

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