I Agree. You Disagree. Now What?
When you read that sentence by itself, it tends to be uplifting.
You could probably have someone come around you every hour on the hour and just tell you, “I agree,” and you’d feel better.
Try this: Just think of someone poking their head into your cubicle, or walking in your office, or into your kitchen while you’re at home making coffee. They get your attention, look at you, and say, “I agree.”
Swear to god you will smile inside.
If you deconstruct the word agree back to its roots you’ll find it comes from Latin, ad + gre meaning, “...gratitude, satisfaction, liking, or pleasure.”
Built inside the very DNA of this word is the essence of liking.
And as long as we’re inside this DNA word-strain, if you take a moment you will notice the word agree is also an inflow.
Harry: “Hey Sally, would you like to go to the movies?”
Sally: “I’d love to.”
Harry outflows the question. Sally inflows and agrees.
You both can feel the satisfaction, liking, or pleasure, just by the fact that there is agreement.
Trouble Ahead: Agree’s Big Brother
You pose to your spouse that you want to go on a vacation to Paris.
While you’re forming your thoughts to actually present this idea, that tiny little voice inside your head is as anxious as a fifth grader waiting for the recess bell.
“I hope, I hope, I hope he says yes!”
In your mind you’re already ogling the Eiffel Tower. You picture you and your spouse sitting outside a Parisian cafe sipping coffee and laughing while eating croissants.
While you’re in this euphoric mindset you walk from the kitchen to the living room where your husband is reading the paper. You have one singular thought:
I hope he agrees.
Yet, enroute to the living room to share your dream vacation with your husband, Agree has a brother that shows up unannounced.
He can be, depending on his mood, disruptive.
Now, you may notice your emotional tone drops as Disagree steps into the picture. Notice this?
Geez. You just met.
You not feelin’ that “...satisfaction, liking, or pleasure?”
What happened? It’s just her brother.
Try saying his name again:
Hey, Agree is standing right next to her big bro. See, Dis + Agree.
You know. Brother and sisterly-like, right?
Whatcha feelin’ since her brother entered the room?
He makes you feel uncomfortable?
He seems kinda stiff?
You feel he has to have it his way?
I told you he could be disruptive.
But just because Disagree shows up is no reason the party should go bust, right?
Well, hold your horses.
Let’s deconstruct Disagree and see how he’s put together.
Dis-is a Latin prefix. It means to remove. You know like discover.
When you dis-cover something you have in essence removed the mystery (cover) that sat between you and the thing you discovered.
“Oh, wow, I read my ex-husband’s Facebook Newsfeed and discovered he’s dating Christine.”
When Dis- joins forces with his sister Agree, there can be some real sibling rivalry.
Because when you add Dis- + Agree you are in essence removing the “...satisfaction, liking, or pleasure.”
The prefix dis- not only changes the meaning of the word, in truth it often changes the entire trajectory of your experience.
If you’re Sally and can get in her shoes, you can see her idea get born and where it’s headed. That’s the idea’s trajectory.
She and Harry are already enjoying coffee and croissants in Paris.
Let’s check in with Agree and see how she’s doing with her dream...
Sally: “Hey babe, how about we take our summer vacation in Paris?
Harry: “That sounds great!”
Agree popped the champagne cork and is giddy as hell.
But what happens when Disagree shows up at the party?
Sally: “Hey babe, how about we take our summer vacation in Paris?”
Harry: “Sorry, we can’t afford it.”
That freight train just hit Sally, destroyed the Eiffel Tower, and squashed her croissant-filled euphoria into the Stone Age.
And this is what I mean about changing the trajectory of the word and your entire experience.
Now while we’re in this freeze frame moment, please notice that Harry brings up affordability which is an entirely different subject than what Sally is posing.
Disagree decides to “show” Agree how this is not going to happen by calling in his henchman called affordability.
If you are Sally, what are you feeling about now?
I’ll bet there’s a small volcanic disturbance that’s about ready to go all lava on Harry.
But Sally and Paris hold their collective breath.
Harry and big bro Disagree lob a few more “fact grenades” over to Sally and Paris just to convince them that this idea ain’t happening.
Sally takes the brunt of the finance grenades and, in doing so, loses hold of Paris.
Paris is shell shocked. She actually thought making love in a big billowy white bed with a bottle of Robert Mondavi on the nightstand, overlooking the Seine as the sun went down, was...well, a great idea.
But, Paris is fading. She needs some oxygen to stay alive.
Sally is blinking away the grenade burst aftermath out of her space.
She looks over at Paris who is turning blue.
Sally comes on with her own charge.
Sally: “Babe...I understand our financial situation, but you know, we both have been working our asses off and well...we need this. You and I. We need to walk down the Champs-Elysees and make out underneath the Eiffel Tower. We need to drink some good wine and make love all day and live a little. We pay Mastercard, but we need to pay something into Us.”
Sally is in there pitching!
You can fucking feel Paris’ heart start to beat again. You can feel Paris’s blood pumping. Sally reached way down deep and kick-started her Adrenaline Team into high gear. Paris is breathing! She’s straightening her dress and putting on some lip gloss. Paris is feeling the coffee, croissants, and lovemaking rushing through her Parisian arteries.
Paris looks up at Sally with hope and a glint in her eye.
Sally reaches over and holds Paris’s hand and smiles.
Sally is not going to let her Paris dream die because her big brother Disagree had Harry’s ear.
But...Disagree had a different intention.
And this is where I find practically every communication between two people gets derailed, be it at work, at home, or in life.
And that is the difference between Disagree entertaining a different viewpoint vs. Disagree acting as a destructive intention.
You might want to read that again.
He can disagree with you about who is the greatest basketball player to ever live, and you and he can go about your day.
You can be an advocate for vaccines and Disagree won’t agree with you. You can get into a heated debate about it but at the end of the day you both go home and play with your kids.
But when Disagree enters a conversation with the intention to stop, then you have just met Disagree the Destroyer.
And truly, there is no debate.
Oh yes, things will get heated. You can try to debate with Disagree the Destroyer, but this is where you err:
Disagree’s intention is to stop or destroy.
Step away from the vehicle. Put your hands behind your head.
There is no debate when the cop pulls you over for running a red light. It was red. That. Means. Stop.
No way that is happening.
Every person I’ve helped initially explained to me that their spouse or business colleague wouldn’t listen to them and have a rational conversation.
They made the mistake that this other person would be rational when their intent was to stop or destroy
He or she was not being disagreeable.
They were using their disagreement to stop.
Listen: Have you had this experience where you are talking with someone and you think they are just being unreasonably stubborn or disagreeable?
And that pretty much anything you say, whether rational, sane or just common sense, won’t matter?
You’ve had this experience, yes?
And at the end of this discussion or argument, how did you feel?
Like, why even talk about it anymore?
Dead in your tracks.
That’s Disagree’s intention.
And you will get madder than a hornet. You will go away from that conversation, discussion, or argument feeling the other person is just being stubborn and “trying to be right.”
Yes, unfortunately, Disagree has this eccentric part of his personality.
He can assert his rightness like nobody’s business.
So, if Disagree’s intention is to stop or destroy and he is right, then you and your idea are wrong.
E-n-d of conversation.
The end result of a destructive intention is that, wherever that intention is aimed, that thing, idea, or person feels destroyed.
I can trace back every upset with a couple, or a conflict in a business deal, or some parent/teen argument to the point where Disagree joins the party and what kind of costume Disagree’s wearing.
And honest to God. The upsets you often have have careened off on some other tangent, created by disruptive big bro Disagree.
Wanna see how it plays out in real life?
Okay, well, let’s check in with Sally the next day at work. Her best friend Liz approaches her in her office:
Liz: “Hey Sally, “How’d it go talking with Harry about your vacation to Paris?!!”
Sally: “Oh...we ended up arguing about finances…”
Did I say trajectory?
When I get a client call for help, they are usually talking about the wrong thing.
And I know this because somewhere in their conversation Disagree showed up flexing his muscles and showing one and all what costume he was wearing.
I offer a free 30 minute consultation to discuss any issues you have that you feel might be blocking your personal or business success.
If you are interested in a free consultation, please click on the link below.