Relationships are hard won and easily lost. It can take years to build a deeply trusting relationship, but that trust can be broken in a moment of disagreement. So, next time you are in a situation where you are disagreeing, learn from my mistakes and disagree well…

  • Disagreeing WellBe Open Palmed: Be proactively open hearted and open minded to finding resolutions to profound disagreements.
  • Mutual Respect: No matter how much you fundamentally disagree with another person’s viewpoint, maintain your respect for them as a person.
  • Yes Compromise: Compromising your preferences is the foundational building block of all relationships, whether at home, community or work.
  • Keep Your Cool: Never react to what you disagree with, instead bite your tongue, sleep on it and then make a careful and considered response.
  • Do Forgiveness: You will only have long term relationships if you can give, and receive forgiveness, otherwise your life will be littered with people you once had a relationship with.
  • Welcome Difference: How we welcome difference is fundamental to the ongoing peace of communities, cities and countries.

Please can I encourage you to drop me a note (mattbird@relationology.co.uk), and let me know what you are learning about disagreeing well?

A friend who grew up in Asia told the story how as a child they liked watching monkeys climb trees. The local people found the monkeys really annoying so they drilled holes in coconuts and put stones inside, so they made a noise when they moved in the trees. The monkeys drawn by the noise would put their hand through the hole and grab hold of the stone, but then couldn’t get their hand out of the hole. The monkeys refused to let go of the stones, and so were trapped and later caught by the locals.

When we disagree badly we are as stupid as those monkeys, we blindly believe we are right but we couldn’t be more wrong. The bitterness caused by broken relationships does us harm; it increases our stress and anxiety levels, and reduces our quality of life, well-being and health.

Relationships in marriages, families, neighbourhoods, workplaces and nations, could not be more important. They are too significant and valuable to be spoilt by disagreeing badly. Let’s disagree well, and live happier, healthier, longer and more peaceful and prosperous lives.