The following information is a section taken from the page "Communication Skills Parts 2".
Disagreement is a normal occurrence in relationships. People disagree because two or more differing perspectives meet. This can be an opportunity to learn about the other's point of view and experience. Open your mind to learn about his/her perceptions, ideas, feelings, thoughts, experiences, and history. Learning about another's differences expands your understanding of the other person, and of the world. Even in your disagreement, your desire to learn about the other person illuminates your respect, concern, and care for him/her. In this way, even a disagreement can nourish the relationship.
Communication skills support the respectful expression of differences. Respectful disagreement is a sharing of information. Sharing ideas may reveal a way different perspectives can come together to reveal a more comprehensive view of the information. (Two points of view may give a broader picture of the overall topic being viewed/discussed.)
Engage in respectful disagreement:
- Acknowledge and clarify disagreements before they grow into conflict. This may take initiative on your part. Do not wait for the other to make the first move.
- When conflict enters into a disagreement, focus on the issue rather than on personalities.
- Stay in the present. Do not allow past conflict to intervene and impede on what you are trying to resolve. If other disagreements need to be addressed, now is not the time.
- Avoid unnecessary conflict by clarifying what each person is trying to say.
- Respect the other person's desire to express their views fully. You may learn something you did not know. Do not interrupt or contradict.
- Control your desire to get the upper hand. Do not defend yourself. Do not build your position by attacking the other. This would produce unnecessary conflict.
- Be patient.
- Be concrete and specific. Do not expect the other person to read your mind.
- Focus on the topic; do not attack or judge the other person. Do not resort to name-calling or bullying.
- Use self-control. Do not be aggressive, intimidating, threatening, or forceful.
- Use "I Statements"; do not use "You Statements".
- Respect and appreciate your differences. Do not insist you must think or feel the same ways.
- Do not blame the other for how you think or feel. Take responsibility for yourself.
- Be honest.
- Do not bring in a biased third party for support.
- Express disappointment without nagging, complaining, or pouting.
- If tension is building, warn the other you may need a time-out. Do not walk away without stating a beneficial intent ("I need to take time to gather my thoughts and feelings", "I need to step away and calm down, so I am better able to focus, discuss, express", etc.). Please note: if you initiate a time-out, it is your responsibility to resume the discussion.
- Ask for clarification. Do not assume you know.
- Speak only for yourself. Do not try to represent the other's thoughts or feelings.
- Recognize your blind spots. Do not assume you have all the answers.
- Strive for mutual understanding. Do not shut out the other's point of view. Do not try to 'win'.
- If appropriate, reach for a compromise.
- Try to agree to end a disagreement you no longer want to continue. If needed, arrange to discuss it again later.
Communicating about disagreements in unhealthy ways often leads to arguments. Arguments are often oppositional and promote offensive and defensive attitudes. Arguments do not tend to create trust and consideration. If you want to influence someone's ideas, do not argue. Share ideas; respectfully discuss and disagree - you will avoid triggering feelings of defensiveness, inadequacy, aggression, and withdrawal.
Minds are changed when seeing a situation or problem differently. This requires an open mind to new information (not a wall of defense or an attack of offense). If the other believes he/she needs to defend him/her ideas, an open mind is not likely. Be respectful, honest, and open to difference. In this way, your loving intentions are most apt to be understood.