How To Disagree With Someone That You Like

What You Say To A Friend When You Disagree, and How You Should Say It
By Gene Griessman, Ph.D.

There was a wonderful example of the right way to disagree with someone that you like during a recent episode of “Meet The Press.”  Ed Gillespie, senior adviser to the Romney campaign, and Rachel Maddow, the host of MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show,” got into a spirited argument. In fact, the argument became so passionate that an excerpt was picked up by CNN.

Here’s what happened.  Maddow, at one point in the discussion, turned directly toward Gellespie and said, “We get along so well,” and then proceeded to express how genuinely shocked she was to hear what Gillespie had just said.  (The discussion was about whether women get equal pay for equal work.)

Even though the argument was spirited, both individuals were able to make points for their respective point of view without things turning nasty.

Maddow’s words can serve as an example of how to comport oneself in any argument. thinks those five words–We get along so well”–can work like magic.

They soften the blows that may follow. This is especially important if you’re disagreeing with someone in public, and one of you may end up looking dead wrong and foolish.

How you disagree is as important as what you say. Maddow continued to look and sound pleasant.

If you sound snappish or irritable, your argument may turn into a quarrel just because of how you sound and look.

That’s always a danger when you argue with anyone. It’s OK to have an honest, civil,respectful argument. But it’s not OK to let the argument degenerate into a quarrel.

—Gene Griessman is an award-winning professional speaker, actor, and consultant. His video “Lincoln on Communication” is owned by thousands of corporations, libraries, and government organizations. He has spoken at conventions all over the world. To learn more about his presentations, contact us at 404-435-2225 or Learn more about Gene Griessman at and

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