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Powerful Ways To Use Disagreements to Strengthen Your Relationships (not destroy them)

Generally speaking, having a disagreement isn’t a bad thing. It’s common for disagreements to surface in our day to day interactions. In fact, they are so common that they can be considered a natural part of human interaction.

In certain situations, it can be healthy to have disagreements because it often shows diverse viewpoints, which can enhance the quality of discussions and decision-making processes.

Disagreements can arise from trivial matters like whether pineapple on pizza tastes great or not, what the best sports team in soccer or basketball is, what to have for dinner, to important issues like fundamental values or major life decisions. 

So it’s safe to say that disagreements arise when others don’t share our beliefs, values, priorities. 

However, the only time where disagreements are a cause for concern is when the focus deviates from trying to reach an agreement to the desire to protect one’s ego and opinions.
Going this route is a recipe for disaster. It not only escalates conflicts but can server your relationships by causing irreparable damage to them. 

So, let’s focus on the powerful techniques shared in this article to help avoid this problem and empower you to create a healthy atmosphere for relationships to strengthen and flourish.

It’s been created in a problem-solution manner to help you better relate to these issues and get the most out of this article. 

Problem: Defensiveness

Focusing solely on your need to be right by either reacting to criticism or differing opinions, making excuses, or counterattacking is super unhealthy. It’s dangerous because it can hinder productive communication and escalate conflicts.

Solution: Active Listening 

Create an environment where the other person’s viewpoint can be heard. Be empathetic to their feelings and concerns. Instead of becoming defensive, ask questions to clarify their perspective.

Problem: Blame and Accusations

No matter who is in the wrong, resorting to immediate blame and accusation is a child-like way to come to a resolution. The problem with this is that it only creates a hostile environment for both parties.

Solution: “I” Statements

Use “I” statements to express your feelings and concerns without blaming. Your goal should be to articulate how you feel, what the person did to make you feel that way, add a reason why you feel that way (in situations where applicable) and suggest your preference.

Problem: Raising Your Voice

When people raise their voice during a disagreement, it is telltale sign that they are emotionally hurt. However, the problem with this is that it is a form of aggression that can make the other person feel attacked or threatened. It can damage the quality of communication.

Solution: Give yourself a break 

When emotions rise, take some time to cool off before returning to the discussion in a more composed and respectful manner. This allows for a calmer, more productive conversation.

Problem: Personal Attacks

Using disagreements as a way to criticize the other person’s character, intelligence, or worth puts you in the wrong. This can be emotionally damaging and counterproductive.

Solution: Don’t deviate from the issue

Focus on discussing the specific issue at hand without resorting to personal attacks. Address behaviors or actions rather than making the other person feel devalued.

Problem: Stonewalling

Stonewalling is a form of emotional manipulation where someone withdraws from the conversation and refuses to engage to trigger a certain outcome from the other person like frustration.

Solution: Open Communication 

Instead of using destructive tactics like stonewalling, maintain open communication. Express your need for a break if necessary, but communicate your intent to return to resolve the issue.

Problem: Not Finding Common Ground

Failing to find common ground or compromise can lead to unresolved conflicts and strained relationships.

Solution: Be willing to compromise

Understand that isn’t just about you or them; it’s about finding solutions that benefit both parties.

Problem: Holding Grudges

Resurfacing events in the past during disagreements degrades your relationships over time and prevent personal growth.

Solution: Practice forgiveness 

Some actions might seem unforgivable but try practicing forgiveness and letting go of past grievances. If you find it difficult to forgive, remember that it brings inner peace and help you move forward in life.

Problem: Interrupting

When someone is speaking and you interject, it’s a signal that you aren’t willing to hear the other party. In other words, it shows that you care more about being heard and feeling right rather than finding a middle ground. 

Solution: Active Listening

Be an active listener. Allow the other person to express their viewpoint fully before responding. This ensures you understand their perspective and can respond more effectively.

Problem: Avoiding the Issue altogether 

Contrary to what you might think — if you’re tempted to do this — avoiding the issue at hand prevents resolution and can lead to escalating conflicts.

Solution: Address the issue

Confront the issue directly. Face it with the intention of finding a resolution. Avoidance only delays the opportunity for positive change.

Problem: Lack of Empathy

If you decide not to consider or understand the other person’s feelings or perspective, you’re doing yourself more harm than good. It makes you seem self-centered and unwilling to make the effort of putting yourself in the shoes of the other person.

Solution: Try to put yourself in their shoes

Focus on trying to understand the other person’s feelings and perspective, even if you don’t agree with them. Show empathy by acknowledging their emotions and experiences. Generally speaking, we as humans love to feel listened to and understood. When we feel heard, it shows that the other person cares for us and values our concerns. This becomes even more powerful to strengthen bonds when it’s reciprocated. 

Problem: Making Assumptions

Assuming what isn’t true to be true is one of the worst things anyone can do. This serves as a breeding ground for continuous misunderstandings. Depending on how frequent this is, it can affect the longevity of your relationship with the other party.

Solution: Ask questions to clarify 

Ask clarifying questions to ensure you understand the other person’s perspective and intentions. Avoid jumping to conclusions and instead seek clarity in your communication.

Final thoughts

With that said, trying these techniques will help strengthen your bond and lead to massive personal growth. Depending on the situation, remember some tips can be used in conjunction with another. So before this article is wrapped up, remember these tips:

Open Communication, Empathy, Staying Calm and Respectful, Focusing on Solutions, Being willing to compromise, Forgiveness, Practicing active listening, Apologize When Necessary, and Taking the time and space to cool off if things escalate.

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