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5 Ways Not To Lose It When You Don’t Agree!


We all wish we could have peace all the time, but a funny thing - life happens. In this climate of close quarters, high stress, and divisiveness, these skills can help you more than you know. Whether it’s friendship issues, political views, or parent-child struggles, here are 5 things to do when you find yourself in an atmosphere of disagreement and even judgment.


1. Pay Attention To Your Emotions:

When there is tension between you and others, if others are taking a tantrum, consider what brought them into that state? Rough day, feelings hurt, scared of the future –what might be going on within them? Say someone is in a foul mood, you might not know that their partner just lost their job; all you see is the angry behavior. How to handle it?  If they are loud, be calm if you can – make a decision not to be triggered. If they are escalating in their tone or attitude, remember one word – DISENGAGE. That means walk away – “We'll pick this up later, when we have a chance to cool down – it’ll be better.” You always have that choice.


On another level, if YOU are feeling angry or upset at someone, start with yourself - reflect on why. What is really pushing your buttons? Consider, are you trying to control a situation, a person’s views, or their behavior, all of which are not within your control? Is there a power struggle in the making? What exactly is triggering to you?  When you’re aware of it, you can decide how to handle it.


 2. Plan A Time To Talk

 instead of exploding or imploding – you’ve got to manage the energy you bring into a room and have a plan. With a plan, your brain is moving out of the reactive amygdala into your pre-frontal cortex where you can make decisions. Energy is like a boomerang – if you send out anger and disdain, then that comes right back to you. Others feel it too, and send you back more of the same.

SO…if you send out a sincere wish to help each other get through this or at least agree to disagree, people feel that too, and it can shift their state. Don't have your conversation in the heat of the moment. You might say, “I really want to talk with you, and I know how busy you are – what’s a time when you have some breathing room?” You’ll both be more cool-headed.


3. Prep The Conversation:

Come from wanting to ease the situation instead of convincing the other person that you are “right.” Take some ownership at the get-go: “Sorry I’ve let this escalate as much as it has – I’ve wanted to talk with you, but I really don’t like confrontation. We both know that this is uncomfortable, so I appreciate your willingness to talk – let’s try to be civil to each other and figure this out together.” How does that sound? The real problem is not that you both disagree it’s that you are not giving each other the permission to have your own distinct viewpoints. Remember, you can agree to disagree and still get along.


4. How You Talk Matters: tone of voice and ground rules

Consider a conversation like, “I want to be able to hear where you’re coming from, I want you to know where I’m at, AND we’re probably not going to change our views. That’s not the point of this... but maybe we can give each other more space to have our own views. Let’s plan it out – we can each talk, and the other person will not interrupt- just listen, then have their turn. What do you think?"


  • Connect instead of criticize - thank them for meeting with you.


  • Take Turns Talking – use your thoughtful words. Come from intention, not from reaction or intimidation.


  • Blame Free Zone: No blaming, no eye-rolling, no long sighs, no you always, I never language. Instead state the facts for one situation: XYZ method: I saw or heard you do _X__, I felt __Y__ upset, Can we _Z_ talk about it?


  • Listen and rephrase: Ask, ”Are you saying that you feel frustrated when ____? Am I getting it right?" Validate their concerns as much as you can. “That must be tough. If I felt what you did, I probably would have done the same thing." Literally disarming!


5. Show up as your highest self,  because it’s usually not personal

In most cases, if someone else has pent up emotion, it probably is not against you personally – maybe they are angry with themselves. People are often angry about being angry. Angry people are usually hurt people, with fears, frustrations, and bruised egos. Most often, their lashing out is not personal. Have you noticed that the people who are usually critical of others are also (overtly or secretly) critical of themselves? Take a breath and ask yourself how would my best self handle this? Perhaps not blaming, perhaps speaking with empathy, and looking at the situation through the lens of love?

Can you look at them as a baby in diapers acting out, wanting to get their own way? As a kind parent, you’ll set some boundaries, while you make sure they feel seen and heard.


Bonus: express gratitude that you could talk to each other. You can allow them to be who they are, and not get trampled as a result. You both can disagree and be OK that every individual has the right to their own perspective. Address and speak to their highest self,  their essence, their spirit, not to how they were socialized.  That’s the sign of a true friend!


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