Not everyone will get along 100% of the time. There will be times when you agree and other times when you disagree. For many it’s hard to be graceful and loving when you disagree with others. So here are some “must do’s” to be mindful of.

Whether it’s deciding what to do for your next vacation, how to load the dishwasher correctly, how to celebrate your next holiday, or discussing a hot topic with someone with a different opinion than you, it’s possible to have a conversation that doesn’t end in a war.

Try to do these things when you disagree with others:

Stay calm

Our society is very polarized right now, which makes for a lot of disagreeing. If you find yourself caught up in a debate, make sure you take a deep breathe and stay calm. Getting all wound up can mute your message from being heard by the other person. You have a much better shot of someone understanding you when you don’t lose your cool.

Seek to understand the person

We all have opinions that are informed by our experiences- good, bad, or ugly. Next time you disagree with someone, try to walk away learning something more about the other person. Look deeper at “why” a person has a certain opinion instead of just seeing them as opposing you.

Don’t take it so personal

Our opinions are part of what make us all so unique. Imagine if we were all clones- boring!! Just because someone has a different point of view, doesn’t always mean that the person doesn’t like you or is against you. They might just be different. It may not be as personal as it feels.

Have empathy

If you connect with the other person’s feelings, it can make a big difference in how a disagreement goes. Seek to figure out how a person is feeling and why. When someone has a firm position on something, there is usually a lot of emotion that drives their conviction. Dig in to see what it is.

Connect the dots with culture

When you disagree with others, it’s important to remember that we all have a different culture that has had a big part in making us who we are. The family I grew up in and the family you grew up with most likely had very different cultures. We all have unique experiences that inform who we are and what we think. If you can trace back to why and where they learned to have that opinion, it may help you see why it’s so important to them.

Disagreements don’t always have to be so intense when you implement some of these tips. See if things go a little differently next time when you disagree with others.

Is there something you do when you disagree with others that could make it worse and escalate things?