5 Ways to Maintain a Friendship When You Have Different Opinions
Updated: Feb 2, 2022
More than ever before, we need methods to deal with friends that have different opinions to our own. Here are five ways that allow you to have different opinions and maintain a healthy friendship.
My mother has always treasured a long-time friendship with a woman who believes in horoscopes, numerology and other esoteric practices. She takes what she needs from their conversations about these subjects and leaves behind anything she finds far-fetched.
Theirs is a gentle, mutually nurturing relationship that comes from the heart – until now...
For some years, this friend's suspicion towards society has surfaced.
The once calming conversations have now turned into discussions about conspiracies, support of a politician who blatantly suppresses people's rights, and most recently, her opposition to vaccinations.
My open-minded Mum has found herself facing a dilemma. How can she navigate a friendship with a person who has completely opposite opinions to her own?
Considering that the entire world faces a pandemic that allows differences in opinions to surface, finding methods to deal with friends who disagree with you may be needed more than ever.
Here are five ways to help maintain a healthy friendship with differing opinions.
Respect that each person has the right to their own opinion
If the topic needs to be approached, make sure that the friend is informed from the start that you respect that they have a different view, as they should respect yours too. Do not come across as rude, arrogant or outright confrontational when discussing the subject. The key is to understand where they are coming from.
Make sure that they know that the difference in opinion is not a personal attack
Your friend may feel sad or angry that you think badly of their belief. Tell them that your thoughts apply to everyone with that opinion, not just them. Don't outright attack them. At best, you will both feel bad – at worst, your friendship could be threatened.
Don't try to convince them otherwise; instead, try to understand why
You may not understand how your friend could think this way. Ask them why. They may have a convincing argument that you had not expected. Give them time and don't interrupt. When you explain your opinion, use supporting arguments why you disagree.
Drop the subject
As mentioned before, everyone has the right to their own opinion. If you and your friend just cannot see eye to eye about a subject, agree to disagree, then drop it. Don't take it any further than that. Just move on with your friendship.
Find common ground and avoid subjects where you disagree
Your friendship has lasted this long without the need to discuss differences in opinion. Talk about things you agree upon; mutual interests, family and friends, things that make you both happy. Positive conversation underlines the value of your friendship.
Everyone has the right to have different opinions. If you have to discuss it, do so with respect and don't let the conversation get heated. Follow the methods above and continue to enjoy each others company. A friendship will last if the foundations are strong enough to handle these differences.
If this has happened to you and you find these methods helpful, please click like or leave a comment. I'd love to hear from you!