Let's agree to disagree - TIPS Blog
  • Blog By
    Ms. Sumita Sen Mazumdar
    Editor – Content & Academic Coordinator – KG
    The Indian Public School
    December 4, 2020 | In Blog

I think I’m right. You think you are. There seems to be evidentiary documentation to support both. So, what’s next? A heated debate and the louder voice wins? The other side feels humiliated, dejected, tears even? Does this scene seem familiar to you? If yes, maybe it’s time for a new perspective.

No losing face

So, how does one deal with this kind of a situation without losing face? You agree to disagree. The wisdom of this approach lies in the fact that all parties to a dispute realize it’s futile to continue the argument and detrimental to both in the long run. Therefore, they mutually acknowledge the other’s point of view without acquiescing. This is different from compromise, where parties engage in a trade-off, each giving up one or more of their demands or points of argument. Effective at first, repeated use of compromise as a technique may lead to an erosion of self-worth.

It’s all about tolerance

agree to disagree

Agreeing to disagree gives the parties a greater sense of control with no one feeling like they had to cave in. So, self-pride remains intact. If you think about it, agreeing to disagree is simply an intelligent extension of the idea of tolerance. Ask your team members to compromise and you could hear dissenting voices. Instead, tell them to try the agree to disagree approach and watch. No one feels like their power has been taken from them and peace prevails. This is a beautiful technique for conflict resolution that can be adapted for all ages and different environments, home, work or school. No more mud-slinging.

Walk a mile in the other person’s shoes

A good way to get children or even adults on board with this technique is to inculcate early on the skills for understanding that there are different perspectives to the same situation. Walk a mile in the other person’s shoes is a good exercise. We also need to learn there are tools available to help express what we feel without giving in to outbursts. Language is one such powerful tool. Teaching children or your team of grownups at work to respond to a triggering situation with carefully thought out words can work wonders leaving them feeling empowered in an otherwise potentially demoralizing situation.

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Respect is key

Successfully pulling this off means no ego bruises. Done right, no one feels affronted, humiliated or powerless. These are counterproductive evocations; while the person could meekly submit to the situation for the day, they may subconsciously be gearing up for greater conflict in the near future to reclaim their sense of self-pride. The average human ego is fragile that way.

So, be pre-emptive. Initiate the inclination for conflict resolution among your group of friends, family or team using the agree to disagree approach, way before actual conflict arises. Reinforce periodically through practical examples or exercises, somewhat in the manner of a fire drill. You won’t regret the decision!



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