How to Respectfully Disagree


Max Tapper

We laugh. We cry. We make mistakes all the time. Throughout our lives, we have had our own experiences and developed our own opinions. However, we will inevitably continue to encounter opposing perspectives in this life. This does not entail that we should not take ownership of our interests and beliefs. I am Max Tapper, and I am here to give you, my fellow students, some advice on how to be true to yourself while being able to respectfully disagree.


Be Genuinely Honest
If you ask me, no one should feel the urge to lie, especially to those closest to us. When a family member or friend says something you disagree with, tell them how you feel about it. However, make sure that you do not put his or her perspective down. Be observant, yet sensitive to how the other person responds. Then, you can have a more in-depth conversation.


Try to Compromise
Just because you disagree with someone does not mean that you cannot find common ground. When it is appropriate, suggest if there is a reasonable medium in which you and the other person will be happy. You might want to reach a certain outcome, but it is important to acknowledge the other person’s perspective. That way, you will come off as more sympathetic, which will make people want to trust you.


Be Quiet and Listen
Not everything in this life is about you. You might not understand what others have to say, but you need to show respect. If you always insist on your perspective, your peers will likely view you as egocentric. Sometimes, the best thing to do is accept that everyone thinks differently. There cannot be shame in that.


Keep Your Private Thoughts to Yourself
We all sometimes have thoughts that are better left unsaid. As much as you may disagree with someone, you do not want to say anything that they could find offensive. This is especially the case when you are communicating with those closest to you. Before the words of hurt emerge, stop yourself and imagine the consequences. Some football teams are more popular than others, but they are not worth the end of a relationship.


Just Walk Away
Occasionally, we may feel too overwhelmed to engage in a conversation. That is quite alright. When you do not feel comfortable talking to someone, take the higher road. Tell the other person that you would rather not talk to them at the moment, but do so respectfully. Hopefully, the other person will understand. No matter how insecure you may feel, the truth will set you free.