Do You Agree?

Do You Agree?

Disagreement, argument, conflict:  these can cause anxiety in anyone, and they often lead to avoidance or hostility, and certainly away from harmony.

“Best to stay away from that person/topic/situation/” becomes a guide for getting through the day.

Many optimistic folks search tips or classes on Persuasion.  Some see a darker picture and opt for Conflict Management.  Others give in to Managing Difficult People.

All efforts to minimize disruption are to be applauded, but when disruption is simmering below the surface of so many conversations, and is so quick to explode into a conflict, one needs more immediate help.  When most interactions are not in person the need intensifies.

For many of us the first reaction to a suggestion of disharmony is defensive, but as soon as we react in this way the battle lines are drawn.  If we can let go of the need to defend whatever we feel is under attack, maybe we can:

  • Ask the other person to say more about her idea/statement
  • Listen to learn the reasons behind her position
  • See if you hear anything that you have in common with her on that topic
  • Ask what is her goal or intention. You may be surprised to learn that your goals and intentions are similar.
  • Rather than engaging further, suggest that you think about what you’ve heard and agree to talk later.

Here’s what you get for doing all that:  Your emotion can remain contained.  You don’t have to stake a claim to something. You haven’t ‘lost’ anything. You might learn something.

Sometimes we don’t have to persuade or manage someone with whom we disagree.  Sometimes getting clarity can be enough to maintain harmony.

Even the most casual comments can start an argument or create tension these days.   A few quick changes in response can help keep everyone calm.  Contact us to learn how: 202 298 7700 or

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