When I was growing up, I often heard the phrase: “disagree, but don’t be disagreeable.” It was repeated throughout my time at university and even as an adult.
However, I’m going to say that sometimes it’s not only OK, but even important to be disagreeable. The world needs more people willing to take a stand for what they value.
I certainly don’t think the world needs any more bona fide jerks, so I’m not arguing for that. Still, we need people who are willing to stand up and say “no!”
Here is why you should be more disagreeable. This advice should be taken when standing up for your values, by the way. Being disagreeable for the hell of it just makes you a jerk. Since we have that out of the way, here’s why you should be more disagreeable.
This is especially important advice if you’re a “nice guy” or “nice girl” type who believes it’s a virtue to let others walk all over you and avoid conflict.
It’s Pretty Rare
At my first teaching job, everyone was expected to march in lockstep. New ideas were discouraged and everyone just went along with the leadership, even when it was a terrible decision.
There are many environments (like corporate cultures and religious and political organizations) where there is no room for any debate, let alone disagreement. The pressure to conform is so great that many once hallowed institutions have been rocked by scandal. Yet, coverups and crimes persisted for years because no one had the guts to stand up.
Every organization needs someone to disagree. No group grows or thrives without some type of constructive dissent. Every business, nation, and institution needs a little more disagreement. Of course, be warned, this advice could get you fired or kicked out of a group.
Look at all the Hollywood movies made about agreeable men and women who do what they’re told. Just like in real life, they are honored and lionized. Likewise, the good boys who keep their heads down in school and work and go with the flow have to get bodyguards to keep the hot, beautiful women away.
Yeah, that never happens. The guys who are valued and remembered are the bad boys, the rebels. In other words, they are the type of guys who disagree with something (whether a rule, society, or, to borrow from Marlon Brando’s character in The Wild One “what do you got?”).
No one likes a chronically negative man or woman. However, vocally and firmly disagreeing with something shows that you have guts. It shows you have value. And, ultimately women want to date strong guys who stand up for their authentic values. Being disagreeable shows that you have some fight in you. And, that’s attractive.
It Feels Good
Before I started transforming myself through the techniques I now share on this website, I disagreed with many people, especially at my job. But, I was afraid to share it. It made me feel helpless and miserable not to express myself. I came home most nights feeling stressed and exhausted from pretending.
Disagreeing with others feels good when it’s related to a core principle. And, sometimes people need to be told off because they’re behaving badly. It relieves a lot of stress, gives us a sense of power, and might even clear the air in tense situations.
However, if you’re going to be disagreeable, do it the right way. Don’t get angry, just be firm and assertive. Don’t whine or explode. Just calmly and rationally state what you’re feeling. And, if people get mad, don’t get rattled or backpedal.
So, be disagreeable. Stand up for yourself. You’ll feel better and be more respected and attractive.