Agree to Disagree

Disagreement causes friction.

In most cases when we have a different opinion from the person we are talking to, we have an inner urge to reach a consensus with this person. This can mean anything from convincing the other person of our own political view to asserting the fact that vanilla ice cream is superior to chocolate ice cream (which it obviously is!).

In most cases, there are two options: Either one person convinces the other one of their opinion, or they find a compromise somewhere in the middle of both viewpoints (Stracciatella ice cream?).

The more emotional we are about the topic, the less likely either option becomes.

After fighting with people for years and years about the superiority of vanilla ice cream, we have grown to understand that there’s a third option which we like to call “agree to disagree”.

Agreeing to disagree means to avoid fights by accepting the fact that opinions differ and that there is nothing wrong about that. It means to realise that the other person’s opinion might not make sense from one’s own perspective – but from their perspective, it is the more sensible opinion.

The “agree to disagree” approach is a game-changer. It gives people around more space for their own views. The most interesting part is that people actually even become more interested in our opinion when we are not trying to convince them of it.

Because when you are not trying to convince, you have a real conversation with that other person, a real exchange. You don’t have an answer already which can even be irrelevant sometimes. You actually listen and understand the person talking to you. You don’t need to be right, it’s not about you, it’s about sharing.

The “agree to disagree” approach might not be possible in all situations, but there are certainly a lot of situations in which it reduces fights and frustrations. And most importantly, it helps us to respect people’s views and give them space – which is one of the key goals of Philia!

What’s your view on this topic? Do you already practice “agree to disagree” or is it news to you? Do you find it helpful?

P.S.: Vanilla ice cream still remains the queen of all ice creams!