We all have that person in our lives with whom we don’t agree. It may be a difference in political or religious beliefs, social economics, or just little things here and there. Even if the disagreements are small, they can tear a relationship apart. You may not always agree with everyone, but you can still find a way to get along with someone even though you disagree with them.
Instead of disregarding their views, ask open-ended questions. Ask questions that show you’re curious rather than questions that condemn. It might help you to understand their viewpoints. It will also show them that you care about their opinion, and it might help them do the same. You just might come to realize how much you have in common.
Sometimes, it is better to just openly ignore them as well. If they say something that isn’t necessarily directed towards you, but was said in a way to make you upset, either just ignore them, or tell them that you don’t want to discuss it. Keep doing whatever you were doing, or walk away.
If someone posts something on social media that you don’t agree with, I highly advise you to think before acting. Instead of commenting on that tweet, or messaging them in a harsh way, think about what you are going to say. Saying something harshly is sometimes worse than not saying anything at all. To avoid further conflict, stop and ask yourself “Is this something that you would be willing to say face to face?”
On the other hand, if you have trouble approaching someone about your differences in belief, try writing it out in a letter or communicating your views in some other way instead. Maybe you are a soft spoken person who doesn’t enjoy conflict. Eventually, you will need to talk face to face with this person, but it might just be best to get your initial thoughts out on paper before approaching them. I understand how it feels to hold everything inside and not tell people when you disagree with them. It can eat you up inside.
Remember—Your relationship is what matters. It’s not always about being right or changing the mind of the other person.
“I’m not here to be right—I’m here to get it right.”Brené Brown, Ph.D., LMSW, research professor
Morgan is a junior at Sweet Home High School. She mainly writes for the advice column. She plays basketball and softball and is also part of the yearbook club.