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Tolerance in Social Circles: Part 3

Nov 18, 2020

Managing Disagreements

A major part of tolerance involves managing disagreements. If our disagreements can be managed correctly, it will be easier to tolerate that disagreement. Let us look at some tips on how to manage a disagreement.

Look for common ground – Most people have some common ground with one another. Even someone who’s vastly different from us may share certain core values. When dealing with disagreements, try to find a place where both can agree. This can help us figure out how to smooth things over and talk out our differences in a calm, mature fashion.

For example, you and a friend disagree about social distancing in Salaah during lockdown. Try to find some common ground. While you do not agree on social distancing in Salaah, think about shared values. You both agree that Salaah is important. You both agree that Salaah with Jamaat should not be missed. Try to bring these issues up to find places where you agree fundamentally about certain aspects.

Avoid negative body language – When we’re talking about a major disagreement, negative body language may accidentally slip in. If things get heated, we may do things like roll our eyes, sigh, or cross our arms. Negative body language will only make the other person feel hurt and frustrated. We should be aware of what our body is doing and try to use attentive, respectful body language. We should try to maintain eye contact when speaking and listening to show that we’re paying attention. We should keep our facial expression relaxed and avoid furrowing our brows or frowning.

Stay calm and objective – It can be hard not to personalize something. Oftentimes, when talking over disagreements, we have the urge to win an argument. We should stay calm and look at the situation objectively. No one is trying to win. We are trying to better understand someone else’s perspective. It’s good to remind ourselves that someone’s opinion is not personal. Try to focus on the objective facts. How and why do we feel strongly about this and how does it affect us? This is what we’re trying to convey.

Listen – We should always listen to someone else’s side and never interrupt when they speak. Ask that they not interrupt us as well. We should truly listen to what another person says and try to understand where they’re coming from while we’re listening.

Remember, listening to someone else does not take away from our own opinion. It is productive to understand the opinions of others. If we understand why people feel the way they do, we will find it easier to tolerate others opinions.

Change the subject – In certain situations, changing the subject may be the best way to deal with a disagreement about a sensitive topic. In fact, in most situations, this might be the best way forward. If a disagreement goes out of control, it could split families, friends and work colleagues etc. Changing the subject may be the best option, especially if we are dealing with a person who has a habit of arguing.

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