Disagreement causes friction.
In most cases when we have a different opinion from the person we are talking to, we have an inner urge to reach a consensus with this person. This can mean anything from convincing the other person of our own political view to asserting the fact that vanilla ice cream is superior to chocolate ice cream (which it obviously is!).
In most cases, there are two options: Either one person convinces the other one of their opinion, or they find a compromise somewhere in the middle of both viewpoints (Stracciatella ice cream?).
The more emotional we are about the topic, the less likely either option becomes.
After fighting with people for 27 years about the superiority of vanilla ice cream, Tanja has grown to understand that there’s a third option which she likes to call “agree to disagree”.
She first really considered this option when a friend of hers talked about his multi-cultural office team and that they function so well, because the oftentimes agree to disagree. Agreeing to disagree means to avoid fights by accepting the fact that opinions differ and that there is nothing wrong about that. It means to realise that the other person’s opinion might not make sense from one’s own perspective – but from his perspective it is the more sensible opinion.
Throughout the past couple of months, Tanja has tried to put the “agree to disagree” approach into practice both in the Philia Coaching sessions and in her private life. It’s a game changer. She has learned to give people around her more space for their own views. The most interesting part is that people actually even become more interested in her opinion when she is not trying to convince them of it. Because when you are not trying to convince, you have a real conversion with that other people, a real exchange. You don’t have an answer already which can even be irrelevant sometime. You actually listen and understand the person talking to you. You don’t need to be right, it’s not about you, it’s about sharing.
In the bottom line, the “agree to disagree” approach might not be possible in all situations, but there are certainly a lot of situations in which it reduces fights and frustrations. And most importantly, it helps us to respect people’s views and give them space – which is one of the key goals of Philia!
What’s your view on this topic? Do you already practice “agree to disagree” or is it news to you? Do you find it helpful?
P.S.: Vanilla ice cream still remains the queen of all ice creams!”