How To Disagree Without Getting Angry

How To Disagree Without Getting Angry

3 Ways We Unconsciously Sabotage Our Relationships (and How to Stop)
How to Let Go of Perfection and Enjoy Being ‘Okay’ at Things

talk out disagreements

Disagreeing with someone is inevitable. There’s no way everyone you ever meet will have the same opinions as you. However, there’s a way to disagree without getting angry with each other and making the situation terrible for both parties involved.

Feeling the Fury

Anger is often a social emotion. You have an anger-triggering thought as well as a feeling of pain or a sense that someone is trying to harm you in some way. When you’re in a disagreement with someone, you might instantly feel the need to jump into defense mode and push back.

Anger doesn’t help anyone when you’re arguing, though. You have to learn how to disagree with someone without getting heated emotions involved. Anger leads to outbursts and saying hurtful things you don’t mean — and you can’t always just take those things back. If things get bad enough, anger can even make people lash out physically, and that’s never something you want to happen.

Thankfully, there are ways to prevent this from happening when you get into a disagreement. Here’s how to disagree with someone without losing your cool:

Don’t Try to Win

Feeling the need to win an argument is just likely to make you madder. There doesn’t have to be a winner. People have different opinions, which is something that’s never going to change. You also probably can’t change a person’s opinion when they’re dead set on it — just like you know you won’t budge if they try and change yours.

Politics, especially these days, can be particularly polarizing. But if you try to win and eviscerate the other person with your argument, you run the risk of isolating someone who used to be a friend or acquaintance. Winning an argument isn’t worth losing someone over. If you feel you need to make your opinion heard, express it. But try to do so without getting angry or being hostile towards the other person.

Express Your Own Thoughts

Anger usually leads to criticizing the other person when you disagree. To avoid this, focus on saying what’s bothering you and expressing your own beliefs, rather than trying to attack the views of the other person. Technically, this could be considered learning how to disagree with someone without turning it into a huge argument.

Stick to facts if you have them, rather than opinions. Facts aren’t emotional, so you’re less likely to get riled up. They also lend credibility — if you know the source and that they’re actual facts. You’ll have to have done your research for this one.

Be Respectful

Often, we end up disagreeing with people we know and care about. Don’t let emotions cloud how much you respect the other person. If they’re someone you want to keep in your life, you don’t want to ruin it by getting angry and spitting out hurtful words.

Keeping the other person in mind can help you avoid alienating them with anger. Try and remember why they’re so important in your life and what could happen if you lost them. This will help you reign things in when you feel yourself starting to lose control.

Agree to Disagree

If you can feel things starting to get heated, try and find some common ground. You value each other’s opinions, so make sure to voice that. If a compromise is needed, talk through what you’d both be giving up. Compromises aren’t always equal, but they’re an important part of mastering how to disagree with someone. A compromise can turn a potentially nasty argument into a civil conversation with terms you both agree on.

Some arguments are obviously more serious than others. Talk through the stakes as well. Each person has to understand what the other is going to go through. You don’t want to cause each other pain and suffering. Rather, you want to do what’s best for both of you in the long run.

Take a Deep Breath and Walk Away

Sometimes there’s just nothing else you can do. You have to walk away before you get angry and out of control. The disagreement might just have to wait until you can get yourself calm enough to have a rational discussion instead of letting things get emotional.

There’s nothing wrong with walking away. It’s better to have an argument in the right state of mind than saying things you’re going to regret later.

It’s definitely possible to have a disagreement without getting angry. Take in these tips, prepare yourself and don’t let your emotions get the best of you.



  1. I’m going to disagree with your use of gendered language. It’s not hard to use modern conventions in that area.

  2. I find it interesting that you used a variation of the term “I disagree,” given the contary advice offered above.

    I’ll give you another chance to pursuade me to stop using gendered language, if you’d like to try again.

  3. I think it helps to not get attached to winning the argument or debate. This allows you to remain calm and ignore any of the attacks that might come your way, and it also helps you to avoid violating many of the principles above. Maybe you can chip away at your opponent’s stance over a series of conversations. Or maybe it will never happen. Just don’t get stuck on winning each time, or you risk losing by messing up your presentation and future opportunities to persuade.

  4. Excellent observation, Pravin. Many successful attempts at pursuasion are unforced and take place over a prolonged period of time.

  5. It really helps to not look at it as an argument or debate in the first place. If you simply look at it as an opportunity to learn from the other person, or an opportunity to help someone who is seeking it, you very seldom commit any of the errors above… unless you try to help in a condescending way, but that’s a different issue.