To Have Influence You Need To Accept Influence: What To Do When You Disagree?

My best friend and I were usually curious about everything. We see eye to eye and that was probably the thing that brought us together and made us this close.

We started talking about marriage just the other day. She thinks that you don’t have to have things figured out just yet. You can have a baby and then worry about buying a house or a car or saving up because that kid will be your driving force, while I think the opposite.

Before entering into that game, you need to take care of the material first, otherwise, why bring a child into this world? You don’t have to have 8 figures in your bank account, but that doesn’t mean you should be unprepared or have no money on the side. Just in case, you know. For medical bills, college, school excursions. You never know what the future holds. Some financial stability is better than no financial stability. 

Our opinions collided. She was like, if you are with the person you love, that child will make you only happier. You can worry about the rest as you go by in life, right?

How do I tell her that’s a horrible idea if you ask me? I don’t romanticize the act of getting married and having a child, but how do I tell her that without hurting her feelings? Sure, we’ve been friends for 7 years and we get along well, so I should have the confidence to tell her I disagree, but when she said “right?” – waiting for my support and approval, my heart just melted. How do I put it nicely?

Doctor Jenny TeGrotenhuis, a certified clinical trauma therapist says that it’s in our human nature to want to come to an agreement. We want to solve things that way. Polish relationships. But what if we changed our goal entirely? What if our goal was to understand rather than agree?

You need to understand where the other person is coming from, not judge or try to dissuade them. It all stems from your childhood – the relationships you form and how you attach to people, which is why some people want to feel accepted, welcomed, approved, and every disagreement or difference in opinions they experience as an attack.

When having opposing views with someone, try to point out that you understand them. Instead of continuing with BUT, which tends to have a rather negative connotation, try continuing with AND.

I see what you are trying to say, and I think that…

A positive affirmation, a positive opener showing that you understand your speaker and then gently presenting your opinion is less offensive. Some people are more sensitive to others and they experience disagreements as criticism, which is why using this technique could come in handy when dealing with that disagreement turmoil. You won’t stay off the radar, you’ll be able to speak our mind and yet, you won’t offend anyone. 

The goal is not to disagree, but only to present your opinions and move on. For two people to get along, they don’t have to agree on core ideologies, politics, or religion. They just need to want to get along and show understanding.

Implementing this approach should not be hard at all – it happens once you understand that no system, regime, strategy, plan, or person is perfect. It may have perfect angles, but it is not perfect holistically.

People see with different eyes. They see from different perspectives. Because they have different pasts. Tell two people to draw an elephant, and even though they are drawing the same object, their pictures will not be the same. And that’s okay.

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