Disrespect and disagreement – what is the difference?

Imagine you and your friends are playing a game of football together. Imagine that your friend suggested a tactic to help your teams win. You think carefully about what your friends said. You think his tactic will make your team lose. You are not sure if you should tell your friend what you think. You want to win but you don’t want to offend your friend. Is it disrespectful to disagree?


Disrespect is the act of being rude. You show disrespect when you say something unkind. You show disrespect when you hurt someone’s feelings. Disrespect is the act of not showing someone respect. We all deserve respect. Your friends deserve respect. Your family deserves respect. You deserve respect. If you want people to treat you with respect, it is good to also treat others with respect. Think about how great it feels to be treated with respect. Of course you want others to feel the same way. If you do not want others to disrespect you, it is good not to disrespect others. Think about how terrible it feels to be disrespected. Would you want to make someone else feel that way?


Critical thinking is the act of thinking carefully and balancing the information you have. As a result of critical thinking, you may realise you disagree with someone’s ideas.

Disagreement and disrespect are different. If you disagree with an idea, it does not always mean that you are being disrespectful. You can disagree with someone without showing disrespect. You can disagree with an idea politely. You can say if you think an idea is wrong. You can say what you think. Your opinions are important too. However, this does not mean you can be rude. You can disagree but you have to be careful about their feelings. It is always wrong to insult others or their opinions. Just as your thoughts and feelings are important, everyone’s thoughts and feelings are important too. Imagine how upset you would feel if someone said that you were stupid for thinking football is the best sport. Imagine how sad you would feel if someone said that your religion is silly. Disrespect always ends with hurt feelings. It can cause fights and tears. Polite disagreement can still end with friendship.

It is important to remember that what you think is right is only your personal opinion. Others may not think you are right. What you think is right may not be right. Sometimes friendly disagreement can help to create better solutions to problems. It can help everyone to see many different points of view.

Everyone has different beliefs and that is what makes the world an interesting place. Different opinions make the world exciting so it is important to respect them, even if you do not agree with them. So, what would you do in the situation you imagined earlier? Would you speak up? If so, how would you tell your friend that you have a different idea? Can you disagree without being disrespectful?

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  1. Maureen 4 years ago December 11, 2017

    Such an excellent article. As a victim of a narcissistic father I suffered gratel being set up for defeat. Mean emotional and psychological abuse , lack of conscience is so frightening.

  2. Maureen 4 years ago December 11, 2017

    Thank you for sharing this.


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