Healthy Disagreement: Why Culture Is Now More Comfortable Dehumanizing Each Other


We disagree well when we bring up topics of importance with kindness rather than a mindset that divides. If we talk about our opinions with the people we love, we can help move society toward seeking understanding rather than dehumanizing each other.

In our current climate, it seems as if there are many opportunities for people to disagree openly with one another. Whether this is through social media, entertainment or the news media, at times dissenting opinions can feel more like arguments. It can be disheartening to constantly be approached with this style of discussion. However, we can learn from this example and figure out how to have different opinions—rather than simply calling one another out in public spheres.

One of the most challenging, yet best questions to ask regarding this topic is “How can I disagree well?” I believe an answer is to do so with kindness and love. A way to live this out is to disagree with the people in your life about specific areas of importance. When we practice doing this in a kind way with the people we care about, it allows us to see other people’s points of view as legitimate instead of inherently wrong. While it is good—and healthy—to disagree, it is important to make sure we do not dehumanize one another in the process.

A way to do this is to be honest and open about your own beliefs. At times, this can be difficult to do—especially if you feel as if your opinion is not in the majority. However, if we are authentic about the topics that are important to us, then we can speak freely amongst friends and contribute positively to a society that listens first before it talks.

It is okay to have differing opinions from your friends and family. When we avoid sharing our thoughts out of fear of confrontation, this leads to a society where people do not talk about the hard topics because it may cause strife. We can positively change this course and move it in a direction where our disagreements do not become hurtful conversations.  

So, take up the challenge to “disagree well” and be healthy in the way you bring up topics with the people in your life. When we disagree with a caring and thoughtful mindset, we can start to attach different points of view to the people we love rather than seeing them as ideas we cannot relate to.

We all have the capacity to understand where others are coming from. We do it every day in the small interactions and disagreements we work through with the people we love. If we do this in our everyday lives, we can start to shift culture towards conversations done in kindness rather than anger.