walnut creek counselors


Voicing disagreement is difficult. We often want to align with others and we don’t want to stand out. There is value in having conversations with people with whom you don’t necessarily see eye-to-eye with. You might learn something new and it can deepen your personal relationships. It is possible to disagree without being disagreeable. You can work on how you discuss your thoughts and opinions with others.Try these strategies to disagree with grace.



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1- Keep Calm When Tensions Rise


Try taking deep breaths when you find yourself getting worked up, or politely change the topic. Being aware of your emotions will help you control them and lessen tension with others.


2- Have Conversation Goals


It’s important to determine what you hope to achieve from the conversation. Do you want to change their mind or just understand their point of view? Attainable goals will help lessen tension.


conversation goals


3- Validate, Validate, Validate


Accept the other person’s thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and experiences as understandable or valid for them. You can do this by expressing what you understood about their beliefs and feelings, without being disparaging.


4- Keep It Neutral


If you’re asking questions, ask in a way that shows you understand the context, without being boastful. Don’t ask tentatively, because that may lead to condescension.


5- Find Common Ground


We may agree more than we think. When you try to find commonalities, it promotes openness. This way you can create a sense of acceptance and serve as a bridge.


common ground


6- Avoid Using the Word “But”


The word “but” erases what was just said. Use phrases like “at the same time” or ask a question instead. Don’t try to score points. Keep the conversation constructive.


7- Avoid Personal Attacks


Don’t use personal insults to degrade the other person’s argument. It is disrespectful and hurtful. If the other person uses this tactic, exit the conversation. Establish personal respect boundaries.


opposing views


8- Appreciate the Value of Opposing Views


Differences can illuminate, broaden your horizons, provide growth and help you gain new insights. Use it as an opportunity to appreciate the value their opposing view can add to your own understanding.




These tips should help keep the lines of communication open, even across  what may seem like irreconcilable differences of opinion.


Do you need help? Call (510) 497-4174 today to schedule your free consultation with our Walnut Creek counselors.


If you have any questions or require more information, please contact Lani here: lani@bridgecentertherapy.com