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.