Why do people associate disagreement with offense?

Last Update: November 02, 2016

Why do people associate disagreement with offense?

It is OK to disagree. If someone has a different point of view or different opinion about something, why do most people get offended and treat the person they disagree with like their enemy?

I disagree with people all the time. In fact, some of the people that I have the best relationships with, including my immediate family, are also the people I have strong disagreements with. However, these disagreements do not affect the way we feel about each other.

Please don't view disagreement as a negative thing. The ability to think for ourselves and form our own opinions is what makes us unique. Uniqueness should be praised.

Do you avoid disagreeable conversations? Do you like a healthy, informed, debate, or do you try to avoid conversational confrontation?

I would be interested in thoughts and further discussion about this topic.

Please comment below, even if you disagree. :)

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WaynePro Premium
My thoughts are that it all depends on how the person relates his or her disagreement to you. I think the tone goes a long way to how you going to feel about the comments and/or react to them. I agree with your premise that disagreeing with someone does not have to be a negative thing. Thanks for sharing and I don't disagree with you :-)

Wayne66 Premium
MY opinion about this is, I think, that we are living in a world where everyone thinks their truth is the only truth and that we all need to accept each other's truth/opinion as being true. When we don't accept this idea and counter it with our OWN opinion we are labeled as intolerant.

Bottom line?....It's called "Relativism" which means: All opinions and beliefs are true...no exceptions. And that's why people get angry at us when we offer an opinion that doesn't agree with theirs.

Freedom of speech and freedom of opinion are not being tolerated even though it's our God given right. Truth is NOT relative it is absolute. 14 ideas about the same issue can't all be right.

Hope I'm not off the subject with these remarks, it's just my opinion.....and if someone disagrees that's OK.

mickeyb123 Premium
I am a strongly opinionate person in all of the things your mother told you never to discuss in polite society, such as religion and politics. I can have the loudest 'conversation' with anyone and not be disagreeable afterwords! I don't have a problem with someone who disagrees with me; I like the contest. Sometimes I win the 'battle' and sometimes I lose, but it is fun and I do not take it personal unless they mean it to be that way.

justcruzin Premium
So true! I have a hard time with people who become defensive and work towards turning a disagreement into an argument. They want us to see things their way or we are wrong. I prefer to just "agree to disagree" and move on, but for some reason that isn't allowed, I must see it their way. One more challenge the universe hands us, I don't seem to be getting what the lesson is.
chluain Premium
I am a lot like you. I disagree with people on various subjects, some of the people are in my family, but we don't fall out over it or cease to have a friendship/relationship. I am also aware of some people who will get defensive about their position and take the disagreement on a personal level and can get very angry as the discussion progresses. Of the people I know who are like this, I will not enter a discussion with them as I know the way it may go and end. It is a pity really that I have to take this approach but I feel its the best way with people like this. When I consider the personalities of people who will get angry during a discussion, I think they have self esteem issues, in that they believe that because you do not agree with them, they think that you are saying they are wrong and you are right. Which of course is what you are saying but you are referring to the issue you are discussing, not a judgement on them personally which I feel is what they are thinking.
OlderGuy Premium
Disagreement is a great way to make people think; good constructive debates are alright. Sometimes people get offended if your too abrupt; makes them feel stupid. You have to use a little discretion; disagree the right way; people are not robots, they have feelings.

Your never going to make everyone happy; personalities sometimes get involved. I always try to make people feel comfortable before discussing why I think their wrong about a certain issue.
WilliamBH Premium
Here is the problem .. people "collapse" THEMSELVES with their OPINIONS. So when you dispute their opinion they take it that you are attacking them as a person.

This even happens when people ask for site feedback .. they collapse their SITE with THEMSELVES, so if you are negative about anything on their site or suggest changes they take it that you are negative about them as a person.

So that is the issue or challenge. Now, I am not able you offer any solution other that when you see this happen just think: "Oh, they are one of the people that cannot distringuish THEMSELVES from their OPINIONS/SITE/ETC".

That is just my thinking :)

Cheers, William.
Kerryanne Premium
It is absolutely Ok to disagree with someone if you do not have the same view. In creates room for an interesting conversation.Sometimes ignorance, arrogance and the inability to listen can prevent people sharing their views,which is a shame.
This is my opinion and I could be wrong!
Have a great day
Triblu Premium
Hey Douglas,

I'm with you on this issue!

Once upon a time, I shared a post on my personal Facebook account from my personal blog ... an opinion I had on a particular subject (can't even remember what that was now, lol) and a fella who was a friend of my Facebook friend left me a two paragraph comment that IMPRESSED me so much that I asked him to do me a BIG favour and post his comment on my blog post for other visitors to read ... because he had brought such a great argument "to the table" ... and I truly wanted it on my post. He did and am VERY thankful.

Without controversy ... well ... I pro'lly wouldn't learn as quickly. :-))

Arguing an opinion was a technique my father taught me (and I miss that), and he proved to me that if you support your argument well enough, sometimes you can even change another persons view point.

However, I have learned (the hard way) to be EXTRA cautious when leaving comments on blog posts. Most authors HATE anyone else's opinion ... sad but true. Now, if I cannot agree with what is written, I simply leave without commenting.

KeithMaki Premium
It is a good point to bring up..It just seems that when points of view are being brought up it is not always in a friendly format so one side or the other takes offense...If it is a logical discussion with honest facts then it can be done as long as the tone remains friendly.. Keith
neelval Premium
That's interesting you bring up this issue. It's good for you to vent. Everyone have their own point of view whether it is positive or negative. That what's make us unique and different. You make me think about my issue and someday I would like to write about my experience within WA. We are all one as friendly friends here.
CarolE1 Premium
Hi sorry I agree with you. I think it all depends on how you come across to someone. If you are disagreeing with someone but make it where they feel their points aren't valid or important. Then I think people become defensive but if you have a healthy debate on something nobody should take offense. Thanks for sharing.
drjec Premium
I don't like conflict, but disagreement is something else. Its as you described it. Its healthy. I have always tried to have pretty negative people in my advisory group because I tend to be too positive about new ideas... not realistic enough. I think that disagreement is good as long as everyone realizes that the person is valued and so is the idea even if there is disagreement. For me, if my disagreement caused my to miss a great idea, i often went back, picked up that idea and thanked the person.
Dean702777 Premium
Because a lot of people these days believe that their emotional opinion trumps logical facts....Think with emotion react with emotion....Personally if someone gets all emotional over simple matters when presented with facts, I tend to avoid them. The same person will usually blow a wire or melt down in a truly emotional situation. Too much hard work and aggravation to be around such high strung people if you ask me lol.
ChrisC1972 Premium
In my humble opinion, and your free to disagree with me. there are a number of factors that influence how people react to disagreements.

1. would be delivery - sometimes, people delivering the contra argument aren't always tactful in their delivery and a disagreement can come across as a personal attack.

An old boss of mine was excellent at delivering a challenge or registering a disagreement in person because she did it with a smile and her intentions were clear.

A lot of disagreements nowadays happen online and there is nothing like text for misinterpreting someone's tone or misunderstand someone's meaning.

2. would be personal investment - you mention that you have the most disagreement with you family and loved ones and what they have is a personal investment in maintaining a positive relationship with you, which means they are likely to be more tolerant or see your challenges for what they are, an attempt to have good discourse on a topic.

If people aren't invested in you in any way they become less tolerant and sometimes completely belligerent!

I love nothing more than a good two sided debate which either changes my mind or consolidates my opinion, but in my opinion, people start conversations with a view to personal validation, which leaves them open to criticism or challenge and this is seen as an open attack.

The best debates I've had are around the kitchen table, over a good meal and few drinks. The worst are in a forum or on social media, where the constraints of civility are removed.

Maybe that's a third factor - social setting.

Your thoughts are welcome!
DanielF1313 Premium
That's quite true. I often have to argue with ppl at my day job, and they can take personally and to levels that should never get reached. I'm sorry, but that saying. "Customers is always right," is wrong. Some ppl can't be reasoned with no matter how right you are or what eveidence, proof, whatever you may have. It's quite interesting and yet very annoying. Especially on an almost daily basis. Great subject matter to blog about :)
Dean702777 Premium
Lol, I work in retail and you are 100% correct...."The customer is always right" is the most ridiculous statement ever spread into popular culture lol.....Next time a customer makes a request you can't fulfill, try telling them "no".....If you want to see a grown adult throw a tantrum like a 5 year old who has been told "no more cookies"....Just tell them "no" and enjoy the show lol
DanielF1313 Premium
Lol, you got that right. I work in the automotive quick lube services. And man, I tell you some ppl can just not be reasoned with. Especially when it comes to ones vehicle. I think we all know how we can n when it comes to the vehicle. Not to mention it's needed services. Just like kids, we never grow up. Lol :)
kiliwia62 Premium
Douglas, great post, and question. Just this morning I talked with my husband about this issue.

People seem to be more and more "fixed" in their point op views and opinion. There seems no listening to the other person's opinion anymore.

We live in a "self=rightous" society or this is my way or the highway attitude.

This, of course, doesn't mean to get a person always away from their stands or on your site but at least think about what the other person tries to communicate should be a given.

We do live in a world of "political" correctness, oh man do I hate this word, lol, and because of that, people can't or won't agree, not even an inch, with someone else's viewpoint.

It is a shame, we could learn so much from each other by just listening and think about it first before opposing the other person what they have to say.

Well, this is just my 2 cents.