art work by John Ceprano
CINERGY (tm) - Peacebuilding... one person at a time

Agreeing to Disagree

Many of us think we have to win disagreements – that we have to be and be seen as right and that the other person is wrong and has to concede to our viewpoint.  The competitive underpinnings to this approach set up a win-lose scenario and this isn’t usually an optimum way for reconciling conflict differences.

In some cases, agreeing to disagree may be a good outcome. However, for some of us that doesn’t quite work. The reality is, our view of rightness does not have to preclude the other person’s view of rightness. So, to step back a little to check out this possibility, it helps to begin by considering some variations and combinations of your different perspectives that may be workable. Here are some questions to reflect on as a way of approaching this conflict mastery topic:

  • Choosing a particular disagreement (bring it to the forefront of your mind), what about your perspective is right for you?
  • What about the other person’s perspective appears to be right for him or her?
  • What do you think is ‘wrong’ about his or her view? Why?
  • What would he or she say is ‘wrong’ about your view? Why?
  • What part of the other person’s viewpoint is similar to yours? What part of the other person’s view is different from yours?
  • If you want to resolve matters, what do you suppose you could both agree on that would meet both of your needs, hopes and expectations?
  • If there is no mutually acceptable solution, what is the downside if you agree to disagree on this matter?
  • What do you think bothers you most about that idea?
  • What is the best outcome that could happen, even if you agree to disagree on the issues in dispute?
  • What do you think is the optimum way of agreeing to disagree?

Please feel free to add any other comments about this topic and other ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) that may add to this exploration.

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