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June 08, 2021

Staying friends even when you disagree

How do you establish who you are apart from your parents? What if your family and friends disagree with your beliefs, values, or goals? Can you still stay close? What about making friends—can you be friends with someone with differing political views, a different lifestyle, or other beliefs than you?

Can you be friends with people who believe/behave differently than you? We think you can, and in this episode, Heather and Jamie explore how. 

In this episode, Heather and Jamie discuss their friendships with people who believe differently than them and how you can begin to differentiate yourself. Let’s talk about it!

How do you build relationships with people you disagree with?

To begin, have you ever heard of “Differentiation?” When you are differentiated, you can hold on to who you are and who you are not in every situation, no matter the relationship. You have your own beliefs, values, and goals, even if they’re different from those around you. When you become differentiated, you can even value the thoughts and opinions of others without belittling or abandoning your own. 

In light of differing thoughts, values, and hopes, how can we be friends? 

To get started, we highly recommend identifying your values and learning to express them. You’re probably thinking, “Well, duh! How do I do that?!” 

First, you should know that identifying your beliefs, values, and who God made you to be is a community project.  You may need to invite some other friends or a counselor into the conversation. In the middle of a disagreement, chances are you won’t be able to identify what you’re feeling. So consider inviting someone in to help you navigate how to disagree with someone and remain friends. Then, work on identifying your beliefs and values with people you trust.

Second, we have a great tool we want to share with you. Check out Pete Scazzero’s Ladder of Integrity. The ladder of integrity is a simple tool that walks you through questions to help you identify your values and express them without yielding who you are to other people. The goal of this tool is to help you determine what’s going on inside you. So, when you use this tool, remember to slow down and be open about what you’re feeling. You can use it alone or have a close friend walk you through it. 

Pete’s Scazzero’s Ladder of Integrity:

The ladder of integrity will help you identify what’s going on inside of you, what you value, what you’re hoping for. Check it out:

  1. Right now the issue on my mind is… (I’m anxious in talking about this because…) 
  2. My part in this is… 
  3. My need in this issue is… 
  4. Right now my feelings about this are… (What my reaction tells me about me is…) 
  5. This issue is important to me because I value…and I violate that value when… 
  6. I am willing/not willing to…
  7. One thing I could do to improve the situation is… 
  8. The most important thing I want you to know is… 
  9. I think my honest sharing will benefit our relationship by… 
  10. I hope and look forward to… 

In summary, as you begin to differentiate yourself, remember, being friends with someone doesn’t me you have to think, behave, and believe the same. You can value other’s thoughts and opinions without belittling or exchanging your own. When you’re differentiated, you might even find that you can discuss differing opinions without the conversation becoming disagreement.

More Resources: 

Leave us a Voicemail: 1-539-215-9432

Heather and Jamie love to bring people together. So naturally, their podcast is a place where they want to do the same. Every season, we set aside episodes to hear from YOU and talk about YOUR thoughts. In each episode, you’ll hear Heather and Jamie mention their voicemail inbox; that’s where they hear from you!

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