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  • Respectful Ways to End a Contentious Conversation

    One thing we all have in common is that we don’t always agree with one another. It’s ok to be different from your partner or friends and to have different wants and needs. How boring life would be if we all thought the same and wanted the same things. Variety can be the spice of life, if you let it be. 

    Television, social media and politics reflect the strain that disagreements has placed on people with their family, friends and co-workers. This has only served to magnify the division, making it seemingly impossible to have a civil conversation with someone you don’t agree with. An argument with a loved one or family member could cause you many problems, and an argument with a boss or co-worker could cost you your job. If you find yourself in a heated exchange and you need to diffuse it fast, here are some ways you can politely end that difficult conversation.


    When we’re arguing, typically we’re not listening, but only wanting to be heard. If you want to end an argument respectfully, stay quiet and let the person vent without interruption. You will want to argue with them or defend yourself or your point of view, but if you want to end the conversation on a positive note, it’s best to let them get in the last word and change the subject or thank them for sharing. 

    Ask Questions

    Use your natural curiosity to ask questions of the person you’re talking with. Do so without condescension or sarcasm, but with genuine interest and wanting to learn. Even if you already know the answer (or don’t care to hear what it is), asking questions will diffuse the argument by giving the other person an opportunity to share their viewpoint with you. You can then end the conversation politely by saying something like, “That’s an interesting perspective. I never thought about it that way.” Then change the subject or excuse yourself. 

    Find Common Ground

    To end a heated discussion on a positive note, you can steer the conversation toward things you both agree on. It’ll be easier to end the discussion on a positive note. If they try to steer the conversation back to the heated issue, change the subject to something positive, or let them speak then say “I can respect that. Thanks for sharing your point of view with me.”

    Remember the Golden Rule

    The old adage “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is a common saying for a reason. Treating other people as you would like to be treated is one of life’s basic principles. When you vehemently disagree with someone, it’s difficult to treat them with kindness. But by having curiosity and empathy for others, you’ll develop character and patience; qualities that will serve you for a lifetime.


    Are you struggling to get along with friends, family or co-workers? I can help. Email me and we can chat about working together. [email protected]