How to Show Support When You Disagree

Discussing a disagreement privately can show respect and give you an opportunity to explain your side.
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While some of us may nod our heads along when hearing something disagreeable, others may address a disagreement honestly and directly. Though this can create tension and conflict, it can also help everyone see the situation clearly and objectively. Several ways exist that you can still show support and respect even when you disagree.

1 Focus on the Positive

Before you express your side of things, really listen to what the other person has to say -- and spend some time digesting it. What do you find good -- and bad -- about the other person's idea? After thinking it through, you might approach her and say, "I really liked your idea of putting together a board game for the class project. Since the instructions say that the activity we make should last at least half an hour, I was thinking that we could make it a trivia game instead of a chance game," according to the TeensHealth article, "5 Ways to (Respectfully) Disagree."

2 Creating an "I" Statement

Maybe your impulse is to say, "How could you possibly think this is a good idea? You're the manager!" Instead, crafting an "I" statement, in which the focus is on your feelings rather than on the perceived wrong of the other person, might help you show support and respect while disagreeing. You might say, "I feel that putting the vitamins in food aisles will confuse customers, who may think they will be in the health and beauty section, near the other supplements. I do understand that you think putting the vitamins there will increase sales, because people are more likely to see them," according to the GirlsHealth article, "Dealing with Conflict."

3 Staying Focused

When disagreements arise, people often get angry and upset - but keeping your cool can help you make your point respectful and effective, according to TeensHealth. Reminding yourself that you find the other viewpoint upsetting, and not the other person, can also help you keep discussions focused on the current issue, and not on things the other person has said or done in the past. If either of you are unable to stay calm or focus on the other person's side, you might say, "Let's try talking about this later, after we have had time to think it over," according to GirlsHealth.

4 Sample Disagreement Phrases

There are several polite phrases that can show respect even while disagreeing. You might say, "I see things differently, and here's why," or "I was thinking that we could try my idea instead," according to TeensHealth. You could also say, "I disagree, because..." or "I think we should think about trying something different." Keep your reasons in mind when disagreeing, and focus on the benefits of your idea - as this is information others are likely to ask about.

Candice Coleman worked in the public school system as a middle school and high school substitute teacher. In addition to teaching, she is also a tutor for high school and college students.