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Monday, February 18, 2019

Disagree Graciously

I bet this title alone intrigued you. It intrigued me too as it is the chapter that I am now reading in The Civility Solution. I mentioned this book back in December and I am still reading it.

Now that the holidays have passed and work has gone back to normal I can get back on schedule with reading. One of the first sentences in this chapter was, "Rudeness is the ugly face that disagreement shows when it's mismanaged."  

I read this sentence twice...

I read it twice because it is true. Haven't we all done this? I know I have. When I don't understand the person that I am communicating with sometimes I can be rude. Honestly, it doesn't happen often with people outside my circle as with people inside my circle. 

But I am on a journey to improve my thoughts and emotions when discussing issues with individuals. Dr. Forni says, "when you disagree, focus on the other person's position to gain a full understanding of it and make sure that your disagreements are warranted." 

He also asked questions like, " how many times have you argued for the mere sake of arguing? How many times have you turned the discussion into an opportunity to make the other person look bad?" 

He then goes on to say, "Success is progress measured against the betterment of a situation, not the defeat of a person." I needed to read that because sometimes that is the goal of an argument. To defeat the other person instead of making the situation better. 

He encourages you to start asking yourself radical questions. "Why do you have an urge to prove yourself all the time?" We need to take a good look at our accomplishments. Silence your inner critic and avoid comparing yourself to others. 

"The next time you are engaged in confrontation, be aware of the dynamics at work. Stop and think. "Is my insecurity pushing me to prevail at all costs?" Which is more important, that I prevail or that the issue is resolved in the best practical manner?"  Am I even listening to the other person? Is he or she offering good solutions?" 

If the other person is unwilling to follow you on this path then you can respond with: "Let's give this some more thought before we talk again." Your hope is that this pause will inject a dose of rationality into the situation. 

And lastly, if you are in a marital disagreement Dr. Forni suggests not to communicate that dismissive, "I don't understand to "Help me to understand." That does sound better and it suggests that you are open to their ideas and help. 

Well, I hope that you enjoyed this small chapter from Dr. Forni's book and may have found some information on helping you on your path to disagreeing graciously. Happy Monday!

(photos via Pinterest)


  1. Oh I absolutely love this!!! Just yesterday I hit a hard brick wall because opinion of disagreement showed its ugly rude face. I too so desperately want to learn how to master this downside to who I am. Great way to begin my week!
    -Forever your God Daughter

    1. Hi Taylor!
      Thank you for reading and commenting! I hope this helps you too. You are not alone. It is a lot of work trying to be confident in disagreements but like you I want to master this too. I pray that the Lord works with both of us!

  2. I needed to read this. Violet is now 12 years old, and the times I find myself arguing with her about absolutely stupid and pointless things, many times it's because I "KNOW" I'm right, and I'm not going to let her "win". I need to remind myself that it'll just make her feel bad. I'm the grown up, I don't need to build my confidence up, I need to build hers.

    So thank you for sharing this. I appreciate it so much. x

    1. Hello Sadie,
      Oh I know the feeling. My daughter is going to be 14 so the hormonal war in my home has increased. But I tell myself every time, "she's only 13 and knows nothing yet". She will learn. Finding the balance in heated discussions is an art form that we are all working on. You are not alone. Thanks for reading!

  3. Hi Mrs Shockley, first of all it's great that you are back at work.
    This is really food for thought & I would like to read this book as I am going through stuff regarding this at work at the moment.
    Love your content, keep up the fantastic work.
    Maria πŸ’•

    1. Hello Maria!
      Thank you for you well wishes. Oh this hit home for me at work also. I work with a lot of women and sometimes it feels like high school. I hope that information can help you too! Thanks for reading!

  4. Why oh why do women our age or even older behave in such childish ways. I find it really embarrassing & difficult to tolerate as I've not personally had to deal with it up until now. I am holding my tounge & telling myself to breathe when I can feel myself getting wound up.
    They just have an opinion on every single thing that they have no idea about & I feel I cannot listen to it anymore. πŸ˜‰ However you will be pleased to know I've not lowered myself to thier level & am ignoring it now. But this book you are reading sounds fantastic. I may have to purchase a copy...maybe for mother's Day.
    Much love Maria πŸ’•