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How do you tell your friend that you disagree with them without hurting their feelings?

136 Answers
Last Updated: 12/13/2020 at 11:24pm
How do you tell your friend that you disagree with them without hurting their feelings?
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Veronica Wade-Hampton, LPC

Licensed Professional Counselor

I enjoy working with individuals of all capacities as I view the role of therapist as one in which you help the client learn to cope with the pressures of daily life.

Top Rated Answers
June 6th, 2018 8:26pm
In my experience, this is all about the wording and tone of voice. Rather than going out and saying that they're just wrong, say that you disagree. Be kind and calm about it. Show that you still respect their opinion and them as a person by not getting angry or rude to them.
June 7th, 2018 9:52pm
Don't just outright say they're wrong, acknowledge them like maybe start with "I see where you're coming from but I think ...." and just stay respectful through it and don't make them feel dumb.
June 15th, 2018 5:07am
A true friend won't mind if you disagree with them. It mainly depends however on what it is. Try and avoid religion and politics unless you have both agreed to discuss it. Be respectful and tell them you disagree in a polite manner, ideally supported by facts.
June 21st, 2018 3:38pm
well I think that if you're close enough, you can always have debates and honest conversations no matter how controversial.
June 24th, 2018 4:33pm
It's okay to not always agree with people. It's just a part of life! We're not always going to like everything everybody says. You can either choose to ignore it, or talk to the person about it. If you choose to talk about it, it can be helpful to plan out what you're going to say in advance. You can write it out or even practice saying it. Make sure you're respectful, keep a calm tone, and list your reasons why you don't agree. In the grand scheme of things, they may or may not agree in the end, but you can't control that. It's worth talking to them about if it's really bothering you though.
June 24th, 2018 8:37pm
It is very compassionate of you to consider your friends feelings. Telling people that you disagree is not combative so long as it is done peacefully and with the motivation of not changing them, but letting them know you disagree for these reasons, but you respectively disagree with their opinion. We are all humans, we can disagree, the problem is when people bring emotions into the mix instead of realizing we can't agree on everything. A real friendship will go through times when you will disagree with each other, that is is normal, it is how you handle your words that keeps the friendship on solid ground. It is always wise to take caution on tone and delivery of a topic you might disagree on.
June 27th, 2018 2:42am
Just be calm and try to explain your opinion and try not to make them think they're stupid. I think it works best when I give examples.
July 13th, 2018 10:04pm
Tell them you respect their decision/ opinion but that you do not feel the same way and that you respectfully disagree
July 18th, 2018 11:06pm
Tell them that you disagree, but there opinion is valid, and by working together we can find something that works for the both of us.
July 19th, 2018 8:58pm
I would do it gently and gradually. Maybe start by explaining that you completely respect their opinion, however you politely disagree with their conclusion. Validate their feelings, thoughts and opinions, however explain that you simply have a different perspective due to having a different set of experiences. Then, calmly and with respect, explain your thoughts and reasons and ask if they can see your perspective. Also, make it abundantly clear that you are perfectly fine with agreeing to disagree and you respect their thoughts, opinions and points of view. The worst thing you can do, especially if this is a beleif or opinion that they hold dear, is to be confrontational about it or tell them they are "just plain wrong". If this opinion is key to their entire belief system, the are more likely they are to lash out at any perceived "attack" on their ideas. The more important their belief is to their sense of self, the more any contradiction will feel like a personal afront to who they are as a person. As long as it comes from a genuine place of friendship and respect they should understand that you are saying it, not to undermine them or their ideology, but to share your thoughts with someone you consider an equal and confidant and that is the only reason that you too opened up about your thoughts. I hope this helps!
July 28th, 2018 6:18pm
Confession has to honest, if I am supposed to tell a friend of mine that I disagree with them then I would politely say it, politeness would never hurt anyone's feelings.. :)
August 5th, 2018 1:08am
Be honest without being harsh or brutal. It is completely alright to disagree. Make sure that they know just because you do not agree does not mean their opinion is wrong or they you cannot be friends. Sometimes people think that if you do not agree with them then you are disagreeing with who they are as a person or you cannot be friends. Tell them gently and ensure them that you are still in a good place.
August 9th, 2018 1:08pm
Part of a friendship is being able to agree to disagree - if you are feeling that you always have to agree...then where is your voice in the relationship?
August 22nd, 2018 1:19pm
It's perfectly okay to disagree with friends! Approaching a difference in opinion is an important skill to develop when interacting with anyone, but especially with friends. While finding out that a friend holds different morals or beliefs to your own might be surprising, it is important to understand that your friends are absolutely allowed to believe whatever they want. Showing a respectful acceptance of the fact that your friend holds a different belief demonstrates strength and trustworthiness. Allowing your friend to explain, or asking respectful questions to gain understanding can actually strengthen your friendship and generate trust. If you disagree adimently, it is okay to state that you see things differently. Doing so in a respectful and reasonable manner is a vital ingredient to forming strong relationships with others. Avoid the knee-jerk reaction of becoming offended. Also, avoid the potential instinct to attempt to 'convert' your friend to agree with your own beliefs. If nothing else, it is fair to tell your friend, "I have very different beliefs on this topic and I'm not really ready to talk about it. Let's change the subject."
September 6th, 2018 11:47am
For this it really does depend on the relationship level of your friend and you, the topic of discussion, and how much it is worth disagreeing with them on that topic and the importance of it! If you still want to then you have to talk to them normally and calmly but by being careful with your choice of words and making sure to reiterate that it is your opinion and you respect there’s as well! Respect is a HUGE part of why people’s feelings generally get hurt in arguments or in disagreements with friends because respect can go out the window sometimes in heated conversations SO for this just remember to stay kind and understanding and empathetic to their views and respect what they have to say in order for them to also respect YOUR opinion!
September 7th, 2018 2:48pm
First speak softly and kindly. You can also say explicitly that even though you do not agree, still you respect their view and you are open to change your own mind. For example, my spouse may agree with the republicans while I am leaning towards the democratic party. We can have a conversation about specific aspects and leaders and try to talk about content more than about the outer form. Also, I may not always voice my disagreement, in particular if it could entail pain. Trying always to look at the broader picture. Unity in diversity.
September 21st, 2018 10:08am
I've taken much care and thought into what you've said. That's a great idea that could work in a different situation but not this time. You always bring such strong ideas to the table and I don't want you to feel like I don't appreciate your idea It's just not appropriate at this time. You and I are just too good of friends to let this come between us. I've always thought you were really understanding and open to new ideas and ways of thinking so thank you for being exactly that, understanding and open. Do you understand where I'm coming from?
September 24th, 2018 12:04am
One piece of advice I’ve been given is to use “I” statements. Start your sentence with “I”. Instead of saying “you’re wrong because”, say “I think”. That way they are less likely to be defensive and feel personally hurt. You can also pay special attention to your tone of voice and body language. If you act calm and casual, your friend might take it more lightly. Be sure to phrase your opinions as opinions, not as facts. It’s also important to recognize that it isn’t always worth it. Some issues are small ones, and while you should be able to express yourself to a friend, you should pick your battles, especially if it’s a touchy subject.
October 3rd, 2018 3:57pm
If you disagree with your friend, you should be honest with them by telling them how you feel. If they are your true friend they will understand why you feel that way. Keeping your feelings on the inside may hurt you and your friend in the long run, being honest now can save you from further drama. Telling them respectfully is very important in avoiding to hurt their feelings. As long as you stick with your opinion, but also see their side of the story, your friend should respect your opinion and you guys can come up with a compromise or an understanding.
December 14th, 2018 7:08am
Well by starting with "don't take this the wrong way, but I disagree with what you said because I think...." But the way you say it also affects the way the take it, so try to sound like you're not arguing and its just your opinion. You can also say "I understand what you're saying and I wont take that from you,but I think that I have to disagree with you on that" which tells them you are disregarding their opinion but they should also take yours into consideration. I hope this was helpful in any way possible, and if not then sorry I guess.
January 3rd, 2019 2:17am
We all have different opinions and we all have different reactions to other's opinions. You have a friend means you may know how they react. If you think they will react badly you may be hurting things by expressing yours. If you don't know how they react, say that and don't be afraid of their answer. Most people who are prepared have a much diminished reaction if it is negative. Make every effort to share though. We all grow because new perspectives and other opinions shape what we know and believe about the world around us. The least answered question is the one not asked and the least explored topic is the one that nobody talks about.
March 7th, 2019 12:00am
A fairly reasonable approach in how you express your feelings towards a friend without hurting their feelings through understanding and respect. While being there for them as a friend, you can do your best at maintaining a calm, polite attitude when you address that you disagree with them. Friends are not always right and it is important in any relationship that we agree to disagree. You can also be aware of the little things like your body language, tone of voice, and the positive words to use instead of negative words. For example instead of saying 'I hate it when you do..', you can try saying 'It hurts me when you do..'.
March 8th, 2019 7:55pm
You can't really prevent someone's feelings being hurt. Ultimately, anyway. Be respectful and sensitive and be careful not to introduce your own point of view dismissively. Remember that everyone's point of view is personal to them - including yours - and that they are valid. What people think and believe is very real to them and there is a way of going about disagreeing without invalidating anyone. Let's say you're debating with a friend about what cheese you like. Your friend likes blue cheese and you think that mature cheddar is best. It doesn't need to be a lecture. It's a conversation. As far as you might think your friend may think you're also wrong and disagree with your opinion. People disagree. It's healthy. Different perspectives is what you want (anti-echo chamber). Ask questions and politely introduce your own persective. Then, discuss - and whatever happens next. Agree to diagree. A mutual understanding. Or a middle ground. I didn't really finish the cheese example. And I have no idea what you may or may not be disagreeing on as a friend. If it's something major and serious - then lead with your intentions as a friend that cares. I don't think it's about talking at people - but talking with them. But that's just my two pence. Hope it helps either way.
April 19th, 2019 11:01am
The best thing to do is to stay respectful and to explain why you disagree. First, you can say that while you do see where they are coming from, your opinion differs from theirs. Next, you can explain your reasoning while making sure they understand and are not hurt by anything you are saying. You can respond to their statement and / or opinion just do not make it sound like you think it is bad. You can also ask them to explain their opinion more so that they see that you respect them and their statement even though you disagree.
August 7th, 2019 12:31am
I would think about how I would like to approach my friend and the best time to taIk about it. I would ask them if they would willing to talk about the situation. I would let my friend know that I disagree with what they said or did. As I still appreciate them, but do not fully support their actions. I would also be interested to know what made them respond in that way. I hope that my friend would be open to discussing the situation. Talking to friends when you disagree with them is hard, but it is helpful to be able to have easy and tough conversations with friends.
August 16th, 2019 7:46pm
Tell it in a respectful manner while giving great reasoning why you disagree. There's nothing wrong with saying your feelings even if someone disagrees. All can't agree on everything, and unfortunately some can't even take things told in a respectful calm manner. As long as you know you did your best to present your thoughts and do it in a good way, you shouldn't worry about much:).
August 24th, 2019 2:12pm
I'm quite a blunt talker, so I usually just say it how it is. But, honestly, if I know that person is super sensitive I will start with a "but, I think,..." then go on into why I feel that way. Rather than saying a quick "nah, that's dumb." I'm autistic so honesty is pretty much my thing. Everyone who knows me knows I will tell you the truth, whether good or bad. But over the years I have managed to tone it down to spare peoples feelings (I've had to, due to some very hurtful comments from my past).
August 29th, 2019 10:48pm
I admire that you are considering how your words will affect your friend. You are clearly a very compassionate and caring person. Those are really very wonderful qualities to have. It sounds like you really value your friendships, which is wonderful. How would you feel about trying to come up with some answers together? Would you feel comfortable telling me more? What is the most important thing you want her to understand? How would you want a friend to approach it if you were in your friend's shoes? Please feel free to ruminate on these questions. Take your time. :)
September 11th, 2019 7:46pm
First of all, I let them know that I respect their opinion. I tell them that their thoughts and feelings are valid and that they should feel comfortable in sharing their perspectives on different matters. However, I also remind them that since we are two unique individuals, my perspective might be different from theirs and should be heard. This initial clarification helps steer the discussion towards a positive direction. It establishes trust and mutual respect, which are conducive for having a meaningful interaction. It lets the other person know that you care about them and their opinion, are willing to listen to them openly and then, offer your own thoughts for them to listen to and make sense of.
October 3rd, 2019 9:46pm
Sometimes friends don't understand each other, and that's okay. It's important to make them feel seen and their opinion seen, but stand your ground firmly if that's something you really believe in. But also if they present compelling arguments in favor of their own opinion - it's okay to change yours. We all have different experiences, so pointing that out in conversation might be a good idea. In the end, you don't always know what shaped their opinion. So being kind and caring is the key, i think. It's also important to make sure they know you're still their friend, even if you don't agree with them on some things.