Agree to Disagree


Isabella Carlin , Reporter

Our present world situations can really challenge one to ponder, “what do I think of this view? Where do I stand on that platform?  What do I really believe in?”  You may even have to dig deep to wonder why you and a friend may be on the opposing sides of the upcoming election.  You see red and they see blue.  You believe in the benefits of wearing a mask and your neighbor sees it as an invasion of personal rights.  Where do you draw the line when arguments develop and you cannot see eye to eye?  This may be a good time to call a truce and agree to disagree.  Are you comfortable coming to an understanding with someone that you just disagree with them? Today’s culture is delicate with many ongoing social movements, an upcoming election and a pandemic that has rocked our world.  When you agree to disagree on such issues, you accept that neither of you is going to change the other’s mind.  Are you compromising your views to just make peace or is this type of understanding the best solution to avoid an argument and move on?

It can be very easy to disagree with other points of views in our current world climate.  It is important not to shut down the argument for the sake of preserving the peace.  “People often silence themselves, or “agree to disagree” without fully exploring the actual nature of the disagreement, for the sake of protecting a relationship and maintaining connection,” lifestyle coach Brene Brown has said.  An agree to disagree mentality means that you learn to tolerate a viewpoint without ever accepting it.  There is nothing wrong with having our own opinion, but as fellow humans, we owe it to ourselves and others to hear the other side of an argument and become educated. 

An opinionated mind can be small and can really limit you in terms of being open to new ideas and solutions.  It can close you off to a new way of thinking and not broaden your horizons.  It may not allow you to be receptive to a wide array of arguments and information. Being open minded is not easy but it does allow you to step out of your comfort zone and consider other perspectives and ideas.  Maybe you have always considered yourself to be a liberal.  This does not mean you cannot listen to conservative debates and hear their side of politics.  We must become bilateral thinkers in order to fully understand the people around us and not shut down arguments because we are afraid of what others will think.  If we allow ourselves to become open-minded, kindness and humility will guide the way to new perspectives.  

The open mind set will also create a new empathy to other people, even when you do not agree with them. We must step in their shoes and see what obstacles they face each day.  Each person has their own story and the sooner we realize that the more understanding there will be in the world.  By being empathetic towards one another, we will be fully able to recognize different viewpoints and make an informed decision about what we believe in. Open-mindness does not mean you have to accept every belief or idea that is opposite to your stance.  It is great to have strong convictions, but it is also important to keep in mind other views when disagreeing with people.  By being empathetic towards one another, we will be able to fully recognize different viewpoints and make informed decisions about what we believe in.

There are some approaches to help you decide if this act of conflict resolution will really help you out of a tough conversation you might be trying to figure out how to handle without hurting the other person. For example, focus on the facts. Using facts over an opinion always helps develop a strong argument. This approach helps to eliminate the risk of getting personal.  It is important to stay focused and not to become emotional over the disagreement. Another strategy is to remember to listen with an open mind.  Actively listen to the other person’s point of view rather than thinking of your next rebuttal. Step into their shoes and listen to their ideas or opinions. It is amazing how much empathy can develop with stretched minds and an open heart. Finally, know when to move on.  Sometimes you just need to know when to call it quits and walk away with your pride especially when you feel very strongly about your view.  We should not be afraid to speak our mind when we want to question something or learn more about another’s opinion.  It is okay not to agree with one another, but kindness should lead our words.  

Over time, we will learn how to express our disagreements respectfully towards one another, one conversation at a time.  We will realize that an open mind and the virtue of empathy overpower the negative tone of disagreements.  As teenagers, we have the opportunity to learn about the positive aspects of agreeing to disagree by growing as a person, staying open to new ideas and experiences, and learning new things about yourself.  We have the power to push through boundaries and challenge our thoughts as we pave a path for those around us.