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How to disagree and stay friends

Updated on November 12, 2014

Whether it's family, workmates or friends, dealing with people when they don't agree with you can be one of life's most frustrating and upsetting experiences. Even though disagreements are a natural and healthy part of any relationship, handled badly they can pollute your life and destroy your mental health. Here are some tips to help you stay sane, keep your dignity and stay on speaking terms with everyone.

Learn to express your views, without getting into an argument.

Do this by stating your opinion only when it is appropriate and only once on any subject. Keep your views short, to the point and constructive.

Do not get into email or social media wars.

These are the equivalent of trench warfare and result in only the senseless slaughter of any remaining goodwill on either side. Deal with disagreements face-to-face so you can see the real person.

Stay open to criticism and other ideas.

In most disagreements there is a 50/50 chance that you are wrong. Allowing ourselves to be wrong is essential to learning. If you always have to be right you will never learn anything.

Know when to let go and when to fight.

Does it really matter, in the scheme of things, if your company website is a horrible shade of mustard yellow? I picked up a saying from one of my workmates “no babies will die” which I use to help myself let go of trivial issues. On the other hand if you're a civil engineer or a doctor it's possible babies will die. So, just know when it's worth fighting for.

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