The fine art of disagreeing

Ever noticed that some people can disagree with you to your face but do it in such a way that you are neither threatened nor feeling the need to go to the mat over the matter. What do these folk do differently?

First, they are willing to voice their disagreements. This is preferable to those who agree to your face but tell others they disagree with you.

Second, they do it in such a way as to not diminish you as a person. I’ve noticed that some people are expert in making others feel important–even as they may completely disagree with an idea. They validate you as a person. They assume you mean well and are authentic in your ideas and beliefs.

On the flip side, those who approach the fight looking to drag character into the matter, who assume you are duplicitous or have a hidden agenda, get our defenses up. It is a sure way to kill a relationship (marriage, work, family, etc.) to start a conversation challenging someone’s honesty and accusing them of not being upfront.

I think we are most likely to do this if we have been meditating on some real or perceived unfairness in the relationship.

But what if you really think the person isn’t being honest with you or themselves? Should you bring it up? It is my experience that the more attention to pay to their concerns (whether obvious or partially hidden), the more likely you can have a worthwhile conversation and either the dishonesty will reveal itself or it will become less of an issue. Of course this isn’t always true, but often, in most relationships.

So, if you can honor 1 Corinthians 13 in your disagreements, you will enrich your relationships with others and master the fine art of disagreeing with others in love.

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Filed under Biblical Reflection, christian counseling, christian psychology, Christianity, Communication, Relationships

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