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Five Ways to Turn Disagreements into Diamonds

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1) Frame it as a discussion, as a search for understanding and mutually acceptable solutions; never as conflict. There is a REASON for this person’s opinion, position, or point of view. When folks feel listened to and understood, trust flows and agreements become easier to achieve. Remember: We are a product of our backgrounds and our experiences: a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged; a liberal is a conservative who has been arrested.

2) Disagree without making the other person wrong (or worse yet, bad). There are two (and usually more!) sides to every issue under the sun; my views have evolved and changed as my life experiences have grown and my sense of humility as well.

3) Assume Good Intentions. It is easy to let our fears color our responses but always make the most respectful possible interpretation of the other person’s views. See Hanlon’s Razor: “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”

4) Emphasize Things Held in Common: Acknowledge where you agree, share what you’ve learned from them.

5) Do not be afraid to show your humanity or your vulnerability: Humbly embrace uncertainty i.e. not all is known, more will be known in the future, perhaps your position will be impacted. The truly strong know they are fallible, only the weak put on a pretense of perfection. “Only fools are certain.” – V.E. Schwab.

Closing Quotes:

“Misunderstandings and neglect create more confusion in this world than trickery and malice.” – Goethe, The Sorrows of Young Werther (1774)

“Let your aim be to come at truth, not to conquer your opponent.” – Arthur Martine, 1866, guide to the art of conversation

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue.” – Rainer Maria Rilke, 1875–1926

As always, I share what I most want and need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier

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