I Respectfully Disagree

graphic of man with a sword point toward a kid in a dunce hat
When I tap you Twice with my answer sword, that means NO!

No! Don’t touch That!

If you say these words sternly to most young children they will automatically be filled with apprehension and uncertainty.

And just by staring at the kid once you’ve reprimanded them – especially if you have big, scary eyebrows like I do – there is a better than average chance that the child will break into tears.

There, we’ve just taught the little beggar a lesson…

And if they don’t listen, tap them again only harder!

No No, Okay?

Who likes to hear anything which opposes their beliefs?

This approval seeking aspect of being human is so strong that some folks can’t bear to be disagreed with and take any opposition to their ideas as a personal attack on their esteem. Most fathers act like this sentiment is some sort of planetary rule and allow only enough family discussion for one person to be right; Dad.

And while heads of households or companies require some level of group agreement to function, all relationships will encounter times when support for one direction or another is requested and if disagreements during these times are not handled properly, they can and often have lead to horribly horrific holy war. And we all know little good comes from that.

Nobody Loves Me

The apprehension we experience when approaching others for their input can be traced to our cultural need for acceptance and companionship. Make too many choices which are unpopular and before long alienation creeps in to the party and folks begin the long and painful drift into relationship breakdown. All from a few displeasing decisions. That’s the harsh but true reality of human interaction.

To counteract any opportunity for disunity I suggest looking at this system which severely reduces any room for negativity in a decision making process. Its called the Support / Non Support method and its really pretty complicated so listen up:

The Support / Non Support Method

  1. Jack presents his idea “A.”
  2. Anyone in the group who agrees with Jack’s view may verbalize and expand on their approval. This is called support.
  3. Everyone else who does not support Jack’s view stays quiet. This is called non support.
  4. If appropriate and planned, people may present their alternate version of Jack’s idea without denigrating his original concept.
  5. If decisions are made by concensus, Jack’s idea will stand or fall based on his level of support.

Rather than argue about who is right and suffering real or imaginary slandering that seems to tag along with disagreements, we can utilize this system to provide our opinion on any situation. The main concept here is to avoid criticism of ideas and people at all costs. If you can’t say something supportive, saying nothing at all. Your point will be well made.

The Deafening Roar of Silence

graphic of two guys in suits fighting
I’ll See Your NO and Raise You Some Lumps!

Once a group understands this concept it can begin to wind its way toward open and honest discussions without fear of resistance.

The largest challenge anyone in the group may have to overcome is a silent audience and soon that becomes the main limiting factor in all disagreements.

Not being able to garner support is a heck of a lot easier to accept than having a “No, Don’t Touch That!” yelled at your concept baby which might trigger your instinctual parental protective powers.

Contemplate this thought for a few minutes and I think you’ll agree that silence in some situations really is golden and disagreement should be utilized wisely in only the rarest of moments.

Even then, there are other words to choose from.

Like maybe, for example.

Thank you, friend.

Barry out.

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