Can we really learn to Agree to Disagree and remain in a relationship with others? This is the question I placed with others around the table, where I was speaking. The answers were not out of line or not things I have said myself.
I’m not so sure.
The answers were many and all had agreed to remain friends at the end of the conversation. What happened as I let the conversation go without any interruptions was the true answer was No. I watched as each person got more entrenched into their way of thinking as the conversation got more heated. I stopped them mid-sentence and brought them back with a smile.
So, what is your answer now? After a moment of silence, I reminded them of their original agreement to remain friends at the end of the conversation. Smiles appeared and trenches were filled in between them. They had experienced a new set of feelings they did not know had existed within them.
What did we learn?
We need to listen to each other and really understand the other persons point of view. I mean listen, take some note, be sure that you understand fully what they are saying, feeling and meaning. Before you speak. They in turn must do the same before the true open and honest discussion can begin.
We all have different thoughts and sometimes when we listen with intentional ears, eyes, and brains, we will see and understand the other side of the belief system. Listening to just answer or try to get your thought across with no regard to the other person stops dead the true and open discussion and reverts it back to fight or flight.
My answer to the question is: YES! When we place the guidelines of discussion in place before opening the can of worms, I truly believe agreeing to disagree can be accomplished. To this day, I remain friendly with people whom we have polar opposite belief systems and still remain friends and we can discuss anything and walk away with a hug. Our world today needs more listening with intention. Agree to disagree.
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