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What To Do When You Don’t Agree

By Lauren DeSilva, PsyD and Asha Thomas, LMFT
May 13, 2022

We understand that some conversations can be difficult. It’s not realistic to agree on everything all the time, but there are ways to get through tough conversations without losing your temper, provoking someone else, or getting frustrated.

First, begin with an open mind. This includes being ready to listen, even when you don’t understand the other viewpoints at first. Remember, you can hear where someone is coming from even if you don’t agree with them. 

Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind when navigating these kinds of situations:


  • The goal is to talk effectively and collaboratively with people (not at each other). Listen to and acknowledge their beliefs while maintaining your own. 
  • Aim to have a healthy back-and-forth while maintaining your connection with the other person. 
  • Advocate for what you believe in and are passionate about.
  • Healthy disagreement is good. It’s okay to listen, be heard, and then simply agree to disagree.


  • Assess if the topic is worth discussing
  • Ask for permission to discuss
  • Feel and express your emotions, even fear
  • Express that you value the person
  • Find commonalities
  • Make it personal/use stories
  • Allow yourself to learn from them
  • Validate/express understanding for the other person’s view
  • Thank them for engaging in the conversation with you


  • Lashing out or using extremes
  • Sarcastic or condescending language
  • Talking too much
  • Letting your passion for the subject escalate into frustration or anger
  • Dismissing or minimizing someone else’s beliefs because you don’t agree with them

With all that said, it is important to trust your boundaries! Ask yourself:

 Is this a person you’ve had successful conversations with in the past?

 Is this person open to hearing both sides of the topic?

Allow yourself to decline speaking on the topic or pause the conversation if needed. 

A few examples of how you can gracefully exit the conversation are: 

“Let’s table this conversation for right now.”

“I don’t think us speaking about this is going to help right now, let’s move on.”

“I’m not comfortable speaking on that right now.”

“I respect your opinion, but let’s talk about something else.”

If you need more help on how to have a difficult conversation, we’re here to help. Reach out to a Crossover Mental Health provider for guidance.