Thursday, May 10, 2012

Agreeing to Disagree

“If you have learned how to disagree without being disagreeable, then you have discovered the secrete of getting along - whether it be business, family relations, or life itself. “ – Bernard Meltzer

Two days ago I ran into an acquaintance of mine. We have always had a cordial if not humorous relationship. However, we do have our political (local) differences. We casually greeted one another and began to talk. Actually, it was a good conversation. Before I knew it, we were chatting about everything under the sun with the exception of politics.

I don’t know which one of us started it but politics came up in the conversation. He stated his views. And he was passionate about it. I began to state mine but then caught myself and said, “You know I do not agree with you. So, let’s agree that we disagree on this topic?” He said ok. And we went on talking, and talking, and talking. Before I knew it, an hour had passed.

According to the Charmm’d Foundation, an organization that “provides resources on leadership development for adults to build a collaborative culture of positive character—‘Disagreements don’t have to be unpleasant if we use them as an opportunity to learn and celebrate another person’s point of view. Two ideas together don’t have to cancel each other out; they can complement one another. Unlike conflict, disagreements are rarely resolved. There comes a point when all matters are debated and you have to simply agree to disagree.’

I learned, over a period of time, that it is ok to co-exist with someone without being overbearing with your point of view. Whenever I give an opinion about something and I see that the other individual is just as passionate about the topic as I am and we are on opposite ends of spectrum (and neither one of is going to change our minds), I simply say, “It’s ok. We can agree to disagree.” This works 100% of the time. And it also avoids damage to a friendship or a potential friendship.

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