Article in brief: many get upset when someone tells them they are wrong; some even get offended and get into a heated argument, they may even eventually win the argument. However, did they lose the person they were speaking to?
When two people have a conversation and one disagrees with another, depending on the situation, things can get very heated and a disagreement can turn into an argument. As these disagreements can happen between friends, family, couples and even strangers, the concern is not about the disagreement but the relationship between those people once this disagreement ends.
Being tactful in a disagreement is not an easy skill to have. Other than having to be knowledgeable about the subject, this person has to also have enough skills to counter his opponent’s statements, but more importantly have the skill to handle a disagreement/argument correctly in order to not compromise the relationship between them i.e. “without casualties”.
When someone is told they are wrong, usually their immediate reaction is defensive, “What do you mean I am wrong? Who made you an expert in this subject?” and so on. This doesn’t mean the person is right, it only means that the person on the other side of the table has to know how to first calm this person down, listen to their opinion, accept it and then offer a counter argument.
By following these steps, a disagreement can easily start and end without causalities (winning is not guaranteed):
Step 1: Listen
- Calm the person down
- Listen to what they have to say
- Do not attack
- Don’t get defensive
- Use words like “Yes”, “I see”, “Good point”
- Try to honestly see the other person’s opinion
By waiting, listening and then disagreeing, the other person will start to calm down and let their defenses down, be less stubborn and angry to then hear the counter-argument.
Step 2: Talk
- Use a friendly and low tone
- Don’t use an attack tone
- Stick to the subject
- When quoting the other person use words like “Perhaps”, “what you say may be true”, “you may be right”
Try to win the argument by asking questions that will most probably have the answer “Yes”, this will allow you opponent to start agreeing with you.
Step 3: Resolve
- Admit it if you are wrong
- Agree to disagree
Whether you win, lose or agree to disagree, at least the relationship is intact and no one has any grudges or hard feelings towards the other.
- Disagreements: Difference of opinion
- Casualties: Any person, group, thing, etc., that is harmed or destroyed as a result of some act or event
- Carnegie, Dale. “1.4 Twelve Ways to Win People to Your Way of Thinking.”How to Win Friends and Influence People. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1981. N. pag. Print.
- Sun, Calvin. “10 Ways to Handle Disagreements Effectively.” TechRepublic. TechRepeblic, 14 Apr. 2008. Web. 14 Apr. 2015.