Viewing Disagreements as Opportunities
Recently I had to work through a challenging disagreement with a friend. To be honest, I didn’t know how it was going to go. It was one of those conversations that you dread, but know needs to happen. While I knew that things could go south really quickly, I made up my mind that I was going to be 100% committed to working through it and not only thinking of myself, no matter what the other person said to me.
So often we go into a situation with a “me-first attitude”. We look at what we can get, how we can win, and how much evidence we can share to prove that we are right. Rather than “winning” it almost always makes you look like a jerk, and, while you may win the argument, you likely will damage your reputation and the relationship in the process. I found that the more I relaxed and calmly engaged in discussion, the more peace I felt. What was most important though is that the conflict was worked through and the conversation actually strengthened the relationship, instead of damaging it, as I had thought it would.
Whenever I’m faced with a conflict like this, I’m reminded of a great book called “Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High”. If you need to have a crucial conversation and want to hold it well, I highly suggest that you pick it up. It helped me learn to view disagreements as opportunities to build bridges instead of tear them down.