Today, perhaps more than ever, we witness daily examples of how disrespect, lack of common courtesy, and mean spiritedness affect interpersonal relationships. It seems like many people have adopted the belief that there has to be a winner and a loser, that opinions are all or nothing, right or wrong.

After spending a few minutes on social media or watching the latest news reports, it’s easy to see that we have gotten to a place where people have lost the ability to be tolerant of one another. Many stick to the idea that we can’t find common ground on anything if we don’t agree on a topic.

Conflict is an inevitable part of relationships, particularly in emotionally close ones.  We can learn a lot from conversations where we don't see eye to eye. A difference of opinion can be a wonderful way to gather information and explore alternatives. However, when one or both parties are unwilling or incapable of listening to the other, perhaps the best approach is to agree to disagree.

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Agree to disagree refers to the resolution of a conflict whereby all parties tolerate, but do not accept the opposing opinion. It occurs when individuals recognize that further conflict would be unnecessary, ineffective, or otherwise undesirable.

Agreeing to disagree doesn’t mean that a person has conceded his or her beliefs, but rather recognizes another person’s right to hold a different opinion.

Here are four benefits that result from agreeing to disagree.

  • It helps to avoid hurt feelings.
  • It makes a statement about a person’s healthy state of self-worth
  • It shows respect for all involved
  • It defuses emotions and fosters peace within.

In today's world of strong opinions and low tolerance, it is especially important that we value the significance of agreeing to disagree. Disagreements will always happen, but we do not have to allow them to become a problem.