As human beings we share much in common especially when it comes to our needs; our needs are fundamentally the same. So, while we may have differences in opinions and approaches, we must always keep in mind that our needs are the same and if we learn to work cooperatively, we can help to fulfill these needs to a maximum degree. An example of needs may be the need for food, clothing, shelter, recognition, validation. Deep down we have the same basic needs.
We have to learn how to agree to disagree, and more importantly how to respect each other despite differences in opinions and interests. Here are some specific things we need to do:
- Avoid raising your voice or yelling. This could make the discussion emotional and therefore reduce the chances of finding solutions.
- Always start and end the conversation/discussion by stating that you care about the other person. Even in the midst of a disagreement, if you remind the other person that you care about and believe in them, it will help to bring about solutions.
- Be open to the idea that you made a mistake even if you are sure you did not. There might be a good chance that there is a kernel of truth to what they are saying in disagreeing with you.
- Don't speak in generalities of another person's behavior. Don't attack their character. It would be much more helpful to speak only to direct examples and instances of behavior. In other words, be as specific as possible in verbalizing what you disagree with. Gandhi said it very clearly with the words "Hate the sin not the sinner."
- Always strive to be the first person to apologize when any dispute arises. This would show how much you care about the person rather than being right, in striving for reconciliation.
- Focus on trying to discover what is the right principles of behavior, rather than who is right. We can do this if we focus solely on the action we appraise regardless of what side you are on. You can be a neutral referee in the interaction.
- Do not use vulgar language, such as cursing (swearing) as this will only make the other party angry and make them stop listening to any validity you are speaking to.
- Avoid name-calling. Any type of verbal abuse will not help in promoting any resolution and it shows disrespect, which would only serve to negatively impact the relationship you have with the other person.
- Remind yourself that the other person also cares about reconciling the difference.
- Remind yourself to never expect the other person to fill a need in your life that they cannot do. In other words, our expectations of other people have to be reasonable.
Always keep in mind that if someone disagrees with you, that does not mean that they do not care. It might be that precisely because they care, they disagree with you.