Why We Disagree With People

Why We Disagree With People

Always take a step back and listen

May 16, 2021

Disagreements are something that we often have in our daily life.

Sometimes we'd end up with a shared understanding. Other days it would lead to a heated argument. It's not rare that we let it go not because we agree with the other person but because we are tired of the person we disagree with.

Having a discussion about different point of views doesn't have to be exhausting. What we need to do is to see the topic from their perspectives.

Different priorities

I once had a debate with my housemate about our commute to work. He insisted that it is faster to go to the office if by train, while I believe it is shorter by bus.

It turns out both of us aren't wrong because we prioritized different things. I prefer less walk, while my friend prefers less commuting time. Once we understood both points of views, we agreed that both of our preferences are correct.

Over time, if left hanging, small debates like this might led to unhealthy relationships. To end this discussion on a positive note, all it takes is to stop talking and start listening.

Different background

Let's look at another example. Everyone would know that the letter "v" is part of the alphabet. But if we backtrack a bit into ancient Rome, the Romans used "V" to denote the number 5. However, if we travel down the middle east where the people speaks Arabic, "٧" is a symbol used to indicate the number 7. Lastly, in mathematics, you might have seen the sign "∨" which means "logical Or", even though I have no idea what that means.

There are different ways of looking at the "v" shape. It can be a letter, a number, or even a math symbol. How you see it depends on the context and the language you are using.

Similarly to how we see the "v" shape, we look at things from different perspectives. It depends on our background, experiences, context, and knowledge that we have.

When you are disagreeing with another person, try to understand where they are coming from. We may disagree with their actions, but before doing so, we need to listen and understand why.

Sometimes a change of angle is what it takes to end an argument and get into an agreement. Put yourself in their shoes, and you'll have a better chance of being on the same page.

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