How to Disagree Politely Using This Unique Collection of Tips

March 26, 2020 864 views


What would the world be like if everyone agreed about everything, all the time? It would certainly be a very scary place.

Imagine a world leader coming up with the idea to end humanity because of all the pain, suffering, and other problems the world is facing. Because there is no such thing as disagreement, there is no one to challenge this idea, and other world leaders agree that the plan should go ahead. Now, that’s a little far-fetched, but the point is, disagreement serves a purpose

Disagreement sparks ideas and allows us to keep things in check while viewing events from a different perspective.

So, disagreements can be a good thing, right? Then why, at times, do they turn into heated arguments?

Becoming Defensive During Disagreements

When people disagree, they are on opposing sides of an issue. Every person has a unique perspective. For whatever reason, every person believes their views are the correct view. It eventually ends up as a match between being right or wrong.

Another strong contributor to heated disagreements is that one person may view the disagreement as a personal attack on them rather than addressing the issue at hand.

Let’s explore if there is a “best” way to disagree with someone.

Do you take a firm stand and make it clear that it’s my way or the highway? Or are you better off taking a diplomatic approach?

Whether you have the authority to override the other person or not, a diplomatic approach works best in most cases.

Using a Diplomatic Approach to Disagree

It is possible to politely disagree with someone and end up with a win-win situation. You can get your point across while honoring and acknowledging the other person’s point of view.

Here’s an example:

A husband and wife disagree on the purchase of a new car.



I say we buy the car. We need it, and with the sale going on right now, there is no better time to make the purchase.


Don’t you think we have more important things to consider? Instead of buying a car, we need to think about a college fund for our son.


College? He’s two years old. I think we have time on our side, but our car won’t last for much longer.


When you start saving for college early on, it will pay off in the long run.


Our priority now is the car, not a college fund. Can you for once in your life focus on what’s going on in the here and now?


You can fix the car for a lot less money compared to the cost of a brand new car. Are you at all capable of planning for the future of your family, or must I take that burden on myself?

Can you see how the above disagreement is getting heated and personal?

Here’s a different way of approaching this disagreement:



I say we buy the car. We need it, and with the sale going on right now, there is no better time to make the purchase.


Don’t you think we have more important things to consider? Instead of buying a car, we need to think about a college fund for our son.


I respect your concern about our finances, and you do have a valid point. But we need a new car for now and I need a reliable vehicle for work.

What do you think about the alternative of purchasing the lower end model and contributing the money we save toward the college fund? What do you think about this suggestion?

There are two benefits to the approach in Scenario 2:

The husband acknowledged his wife’s concerns.

Even though he disagreed with his wife’s point of view regarding the purchase, the outcome was better than either suggestion in his initial approach.

A Few Considerations to Keep in Mind During a Disagreement:

  • Never highlight that people are wrong
  • Never attack someone’s character
  • Listen to the person’s concerns
  • Always keep an open mind
  • Remember someone is defending their personal point of view and it’s not a personal attack on you even if it seems that way
  • Offer solutions and recommendations
  • Play “what if,” e.g., What if we go ahead and… happens? How do we proceed from there?
  • Use phrases like, “I sense your concern over… but what would you say to…” or “I see your point, but how do you feel about…?”
  • More tips in the resources section of this post.

In the end, disagreements can make you think differently, keep you on your toes, and help you view things from a different perspective. You don’t need to be mean or defensive when it comes to disagreements, but rather remain calm and open-minded for a better outcome.

Below you will find a collection of articles written by a variety of authors on the topic of disagreements. Every article offers valuable tips and insights for expanding your knowledge and skills to deal with disagreements. Have a look to see what piques your interest.

A Collection of Resources Related to Disagreeing Politely

How To Disagree Politely

6 Key Tips for Disagreeing With Someone Respectfully | Inc.com

20+ Clever Ways to Say ‘I Disagree’ Politely and Respectfully – Tosaylib

How to Disagree with Someone More Powerful than You

How to Politely Disagree, According to Science | Time

How to Disagree Respectfully in a Business Environment – Magnetic Speaking

3 Tips to Help You Disagree Politely | Southern Living

Disagreement Quotes

Disagreements Quotes

74 Disagreement Quotes – Inspirational Quotes at BrainyQuote

Top 25 Disagreement Quotes

Agree To Disagree

Urban Dictionary: Agree to disagree

What Does It Mean To Agree To Disagree? | Wonderopolis

Agree to Disagree – Meaning, Origin, Examples, and Sentences – Literary Devices

Can You and Your Partner Agree to Disagree? | Psychology Today Canada

How To Disagree With Your Boss

How to Successfully Disagree With Your Boss – The Muse

How to Disagree with Your Boss

The Art of Disagreeing With Your Boss The Right Way | Monster.com

How To Disagree With Your Spouse

When You and Your Spouse Can’t Agree – Focus on the Family

How to Fight With Your Partner In a Healthy Way | Time

Supporting Your Spouse Even When You Disagree – MarriageToday


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