On a day to day basis many people seem to focus on the negative and their interactions with others can be more negative than positive. Some have frequent disputes with those around them. You hear people yelling at each other inside their houses as you walk down the street. Some people can’t stand their neighbours. People who were once friends can turn a misunderstanding into a lifelong feud which may affect whole families.
It seems sad people can’t get on better. At times the differences may be irreconcilable and there may be bigger issues involved, but at other times perhaps things could be sorted out. Some disagreements could probably be avoided to start with.
Sometimes a simple misunderstanding is the cause of a rift. It could be one party just didn’t hear properly and thinks the other person said something offensive, mean or untrue.
When there is background noise or someone is talking on a phone it can be easy to miss a couple of words or think someone said something they didn’t. One person’s hearing may not be good and this can cause a problem. It can be embarrassing to admit you don’t hear as well as you once did. Some people do not speak clearly due to a disability or because there are in the habit of mumbling. All these things can cause one person to misunderstand the other.
At other times the problem stems from misinterpreting the words of another. The speaker may have chosen the wrong word and that causes a problem. What he or she said may not be what they meant.
Perhaps the listener interprets the words spoken in a way different from how they were meant. If this person then yells abuse at the speaker or retorts with a nasty response, communication has broken down.
There are times when a disagreement starts because one or both parties are having a bad day or going through a bad patch. The argument is only going to make things worse.
Stubbornness and a refusal to forgive or try again can be the root of a rift. Some people think they will lose face if they forgive.
A common reason for a disagreement is listening to what someone else says a friend or family member said. This can be the result of the third party mishearing a comment or perhaps someone is ‘stirring the pot’. Before going off the deep end it is advisable to check that the comment was actually made.
How can we avoid arguments and get on better with those around us?
• Listen carefully and politely check on any points you didn’t hear properly. If you don’t understand what a person means or you think you may have got it wrong, ask. Ernest Hemingway said, ’When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.’
• Try to get to know the person and their history so you understand him/her more. Abraham Lincoln said, “I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better.’
• Be willing to admit it if you made a mistake. Avoid blaming the other person for the mistake.
• Some people are facing many challenges in their lives. Take this into consideration. This quote from the German pastor and theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer made me think, ‘We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer.’
• Try to avoid dragging other people into any difference of opinion. If the person you are having a disagreement with feels you are ganging up on him/her it will be more difficult to sort things out.
• Be willing to give the other person the benefit of the doubt unless the other person is in the habit of lying and you have caught him/her out repeatedly.
Unfortunately some disagreements cannot be sorted out. There may come a time when you have to accept that as a fact and quietly walk away. Perhaps the situation will be sorted out at a later time. For now, go and spend some time with a positive friend.
Thank you very much for your comment. I find some of the hub garden articles others have written make me see a situation in a different light. They have helped me understand how people in my life might feel. If we can share our thoughts and feelings I think it helps. All the best with whatever challenges life hands you.