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

165 Answers
Last Updated: 12/31/2021 at 11:31pm
How do you tell your friend that you disagree with them without hurting their feelings?
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Evelyn Coker, MSW, LCSW

Clinical Social Work/Therapist

I am down to earth and enjoy working with all clients. I have a special passion to support teen girls and women. My work is nonjudgmental and provides a safe space to grow.

Top Rated Answers
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.
December 20th, 2019 6:02am
Sometimes you disagree with a friend even though you believe that you should agree with them because they are your friend. Some ways that you can tell them without hurting their feelings can be critical to saving a relationship, especially if said disagreement is critical. One of the ways that you can tell a friend that you disagree with them without hurting your feelings is to just talk with them and be honest. If you try to maybe lie and try to soften the fact that you do not agree with them, it can come back and punch you in the face if they figure out that you were lying to them or get offended that you didn’t just telling the truth. Another way to tell a friend that you disagree with and without hurting your feelings is to write them a simple note, hand written, and hand it to them before going your separate ways. This will remove a possible awkward scenario between you two in person, allowing each to think before having to socially communicate together a situation that might not be comfortable. In the end, you should be honest and straightforward with a friend whom you disagree with so as not to hurt their feelings if they learned that you lied to them. If you have to tell a friend that you disagree with them, I wish you luck and I hope that your friendship will remain strong despite the disagreement!
December 28th, 2019 3:31am
I would say it politely and not in a rude manner. You don't want to make them think that they are disturbing you. I would also assure them that what you are not meaning to hurt their feelings and that it's simply a disagreement. Another thing that you could do it negotiate in away. Try and say you're opinion but then say something positive about their opinion. That seems to work because you are backing both and them up. Remember, don't be afraid to tell a friend the truth. If they are true friends they will accept the disagreement and know you had good intentions.
March 5th, 2020 9:02am
This is always a difficult one to tackle depending on the said friends personality which is one you can only judge unless of coarse they have let you know over time that they like to be told things up front rather than beat around the bush! but in all cases if you are unsure how they will react to your opinion which should be accepted like you do with theirs, but this where diplomacy counts so you can get a feel for how they will receive your opinions, another thing to consider is your tone and attitude how you will say about your disagreement.
March 7th, 2020 9:15pm
I understand that you are probably in a difficult position. Start off by saying you respect what they think but you have a different opinion. You can be very respectful about it and then you just explain what you feel. They may be annoyed but you can just explain that everybody has their own opinon. If this does not go down well, you may just have to give them a bit of time alone before they come to their senses and forgive you. I know this may be hard but I beileve that you can do it! I wish you good luck!
March 13th, 2020 6:11pm
Choose your moment carefully and your place. Make sure you are not surrounded by some agressive noise and other people. Listen to them. Take your time. You got to explain it in a very respectful way. Using the pronom I does help a lot. In the end you just have to be honest with them. That's trust building 101 ! People will be grateful that you are authentic and you do not switch your answers everytime there's a disagreement. It also makes you truthful and more reliable. Don't hide your truth behind fear of judgement. If you fear telling the truth to someone maybe that person is not worthy of this conversation.
March 26th, 2020 7:06am
I would try not to explicitly disagree with them. I would present my point of view instead straight away, and explain why. I would explain potential problems that may arise from their position, and how it may not be helpful to themselves or to other people. I could then offer an alternative that is more helpful that the person can adopt instead. I wouldn't bring a mindset where I believe my position is correct and theirs is wrong - instead I would remain open-minded to the fact that their position could make sense too. My open-mindedness would then be reflected in my tone of voice and body language, which can avoid hurting people's feelings.
April 1st, 2020 5:06am
One way to do so would be to tell them how much you appreciate them for thinking and coming up with the idea but that maybe you guys should go with the other idea and state a reason why. Comfort them and don’t reflect negatively on whatever there idea was. An example would be “we should go to the park today” and your response would be “ that sounds so fun, it’s really angreat idea but I think maybe we should stay home today. The weather is kind of chilly and it’s getting a bit dark out. That is a good idea though, possibly another time?
April 8th, 2020 5:52pm
Your right but i have another opinion and i think you should listen to it once and then we shall come to a conclusion as to what should be done to solve this problem you are right but it wouldnt harm in listening to my side of the story after listening to my side we will calmly decide as to what shall be done and what measures should be taken to solve this problem and i am with you in this conversation its just that we have different understandings about this topic soo let’s discuss it and find a solution
April 10th, 2020 12:50pm
By keeping an objective view and ensuring that you fully understand his ir her perspective. Keeping your emotions in check, start breaking down the specific points with logical reasoning explanation. Continue to maintain the context and don’t let your emotions empower your judgement. Also, your tone and body language is equally important. Keeping a smile could help as well. Most importantly, don’t disagree when you know that your friend is right or his or her point of view is valid. After all, its your friend and true friends care for each other and building that trust is very important.
April 16th, 2020 9:09pm
Relationships sometimes can be really hard - including friendships. People sometimes think and think about how to tell a friend something and may make it into a bigger deal than it actually is. Have you ever done that? I find with my friends it's best to just call out the problem and ask them if it's okay if I talk about it with them. Make sure you have all of the facts from them, as you may discover that this is just a misunderstanding and all will be good. If not, then your friendship will be more healthy from having been honest with each other!
April 29th, 2020 4:56am
I believe if you can communicate in a way that validated their feelings but also gets how you're feeling out, is a great way to not rock the boat so to speak. People aren't always going to agree on things and if you can communicate in a way that shows the other person that even though you don't have the same opinion on something as they do, it doesn't mean either party is wrong. Try saying something like I understand why you would feel that way, I just look at it differently and that's ok. We are both entitled to different opinions
May 2nd, 2020 3:57pm
"Hi friend, when you say x, I have to respectfully disagree with you." Make sure that "x" is an accurate restatement, or better, word-for-word parroting, of what they said. Refrain from giving them responsibility for my feelings. Instead of saying, "You say x, which hurts me," you can say something like, "You said x, and I feel pain (or sadness, or anger) when you say that." You can share your emotions without making someone else responsible for your feelings. When someone else feels responsible for your feelings, they can become defensive and that closes down the possibility for communication.
May 8th, 2020 2:18pm
It can help to show a diplomatic approach to these kind of situations and make it known that what you're saying is an opinion of your own and you're not trying to change their point of view. It can help to say phrases such as "In my opinion, I think that..." and "While I respect your choices, I think there may be a better alternative" and letting them know that no matter what decisions they make, you'll be there to support them. It can be hard especially if they tend to be quite sensitive but that's why it's good to use a sensitive approach. I hope this helps :)
May 20th, 2020 1:42pm
I tell my friend that I disagree by simply saying mu opinion. If a person is your friend, he/ she will surely understand or atleast try their best to understand your opinion. I try not to hurt them because that might affect our friendship. I tell them with calmness and try not be rude. I know if I will talk rudely no one will be interested to listen to my opinion. I want to tell them that I disagree and I will tell them. I will try not to expect that they will have the same opinion or will change after listening to me
May 24th, 2020 4:02am
The wonderful thing about being friends is mutual understandment and learning from one another. It’s great to have different opinions, or the world would not be unique. True friends will cherish you, no matter your disagreements. Part of friendship is accepting those differences. That is how your friendship grows. If you had similar opinions, life would not be as exciting. As your friendship grows throughout the years, you will bump heads, but you will make it out with an even stronger bond. Friends are there to help give feedback and advice. To be a lending ear and lending shoulder.
June 20th, 2020 11:54am
I would try and understand their perspective first. Why do they feel that way? What could've led them to that standpoint? By understanding and taking in their perspective I am also expanding mine. I don't believe that anything in this world is black and white so that we can say that someone is "right" or "wrong". I would then tell them why I think differently, while remaining on the topic and on them, specifically. Telling them they're wrong doesn't lead to anything, it's much better to let them think it through again by introducing my standpoint. If we still aren't on the same page, I would gently end the conversation, rather than aggressively forcing my opinion on them. Friendships, like all relationships, are with other people with their own set of opinions and views, we won't agree on everything and that is okay.
June 24th, 2020 4:56am
I hear, what you are saying, but it's okay that we don't agree on something. It's okay to have different opinions on a subject. I still do care about you and you are a good friend. Thank you for telling me how you feel. Sometimes people have different opinions, and can still care about one another, we shouldn't have an agreement over someone have two different agreements on a subject. Its awesome that we can be mature and honest about how we each feel. It's awesome how we both understand and can listen to one another without fighting. I love you.
June 25th, 2020 1:16am
My grandmother always says: "You don't have to be disagreeable to disagree." Of course, this is easier said than done, especially when it comes to someone you carer about. However, it doesn't mean it can't be done. A disagreement doesn't have to be a fight, so the main thing to look out for is the words you use. Using words that come across as attacking words can make it very difficult to disagree with someone. For example: "Your idea isn't right." vs. "I feel that perhaps there's more to it." Using "I feel..." automatically softens that blow, as you're not disregarding your friend's opinion and at the same time, you're making it clear that what's going to follow is your beliefs, not theirs. So, be aware of the words you use. You can even sit down beforehand and write a few sentences out, asking yourself how you'd feel if someone said them to you. Also, timing is everything. If your friends are in a bad mood, they'll likely feel offended regardless of what you say. So, be careful of the when and where of the talk. This can make things difficult as sometimes it takes forever for a good time to come. One last thing. Keep in mind that sometimes your friend might fight back even if you've been very kind about disagreeing. This can be for a variety of reasons and likely its because there's more to it than simply you disagreeing with them. So be patient and listen to them :)
July 4th, 2020 1:48am
When I disagree with my friend I first start by listening to them and asking questions to clarify why they have that opinion. Then explain my opinions. I am careful to explain why I have my opinions and that they come from my experiences. Both of us have come from different backgrounds and it’s ok to have different opinions. I explain that I respect their opinion and hope that they respect mine. I think it’s important during the conversation to validate their opinion and thank them for sharing their opinions. If it becomes too heated then I would recommend not proceeds forward with sharing this particular topic any longer making it clear that I care for them and it’s ok to disagree with respect.
July 26th, 2020 8:19pm
I would appreciate their ideas and explore the right side of it. Then I will say, in my side of view I might be add my opinion to yours. I will show how much I respect his idea as well. Sometimes I find it a good idea to find the common ideas between or different opinions, it help to avoid any problems. I will confirm that I will be there for them whenever they want although I'm not totally agree about their ideas, especially if it's something they take action towards it. I will keep calm even if they get angry.
August 2nd, 2020 4:22am
Your opinion is definitely valued and I hear what you are saying. However, I disagree, would you be open to listening to my opinion? Then we can discuss how we feel about it. Sometimes people disagree but if you look at it from a different perspective it is actually quite interesting to hear others' opinions. There have been many times I've disagreed with friends and in the end, I learned something new. I hope you can see where I am coming from because I genuinely care about what you think and it would be great if we could discuss this openly without argument!
August 7th, 2020 4:05pm
Disagreeing with a friend can cause some tension. I would go about this by using "I" statements, giving points and clarifying, before making your point, that your standpoint has nothing to do with them. If it's something that personally triggers them, I would try not to debate or chat about it but emphasizing your feelings and beliefs as a separate thing and that you still care about them despite not sharing the same viewpoints. Disagreeing might be stressful for them because of how they view it. Therefore, if you disagree with them, it could trigger feelings of not being the same and being on a different page. This matters because friends are normally a group of similar people. Just analyzing.
August 8th, 2020 12:42pm
Every friendship is going to have disagreements. The important thing is that everyone understands that we all have different life experiences so that our views will be different. It's fine to think differently than other people. By all means, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I disagree with my friends on all sorts of topics, but it's a matter of "I hear what you are saying, I do not agree with you, but that's okay. " The focus should be on the overall friendship and allowing room for differences of opinion when respectfully done as opposed to a mindset of "my way is the only or right way, and if you don't think like me then you're wrong"
August 16th, 2020 6:40pm
It's complicated to disagree with someone without some form of conflict, but wanting to avoid hurting them is a good thing. Though I can't answer specifically, like most conversations being respectful and wording your responses to sound as polite and understanding as possible can greatly improve the chances of not hurting your friends feelings. Always take time to understand their point and why they may feel that way before formulating an unconfrontational repsonse giving your own view, however different it is to there's. Just aim to be understanding and refrain from saying anything insulting or harmful if anger arises in yourself.
August 20th, 2020 8:30am
Show that you understand their perspective on the topic and present why you disagree, without making it a personal issue. For example, I understand why you believe blue is the best colour, but for me, i like purple because its the colour of my favourite dress. By showing that you understand why they have that view, it presents respect for their view and so their feelings will not be hurt. It all comes down to choice of words essentially. Hopefully they will understand but then again it comes down the topic in question. If it is something they are very passionate about or something you cannot debate on calmly. Then simply say "i disagree with you on ____ due to ____. But this does not affect our friendship nor the respect i have for you". Hope this helps :)