Can’t See Eye to Eye? How to Navigate Disagreements Productively

Andy Santanello · January 9, 2019

Navigate Disagreements Productively

We’ve got good news and bad news. The bad news: you will, at some point, have a disagreement with almost everyone you meet personally and professionally. The good news: you can learn how to navigate disagreements productively and prevent them from hampering your relationships.

Why Is Navigating Disagreements Productively So Difficult?

We are all impartial observers of our behavior. When conversations go well, it’s because we are good with words and conscientious. When conversations go poorly, it’s because someone else isn’t understanding or made a mistake. Our first impulse is not to stop and reflect on how different intersecting issues led to the problem. Instead, it’s to reject things that don’t reflect our views of ourselves and the argument. In other words, it is human nature to struggle when navigating disagreements.

Bridge the Gap

Most of the time, disagreements come out of situations where two people don’t understand each other. If one party is concerned about being heard and not totally interested in listening, it’s easy for misunderstandings to arise. When you are talking with a family member, friend or colleague, focus on understanding and appreciating their point of view and not just making them understand you.

When trying to understand, you should focus on the similarities in your opinions and situations instead of the differences. If you stay focused on differences, the gap between you and the person you disagree with will continue to widen. However, if you can focus on finding common ground, you can navigate disagreements productively.

Take Responsibility

In the heat of the moment, it’s tempting to place blame, make excuses and hurl accusations at the other person. However, you also need to take stock of your feelings and why you are feeling them. Be honest with yourself and take responsibility for your emotions and reaction. Taking responsibility is especially important for mending fences.

Use Positive Language

There isn’t a single person on earth who wants to be referred to in a negative manner, called names or bombarded with errors that were made in the past. If you speak using negative language during a disagreement, it will only make things worse.  Bring positivity into the conversation, and you might be surprised how willing the other party is to listen.

Navigate Disagreements Productively with CBT Baltimore 

If you are ready to connect with your family better, enter couples counseling, be a more productive member of your workplace or seek therapy in Baltimore, we’re here to help.  Reach out to the CBT experts at CBT Baltimore at 443-470-9815. We would love to speak with you.