I'm sure we've all been there, in the midst of a situation, where we have a differing opinion from someone else. It may be a very minor disagreement, or something full blown which could escalate into a full blown conflict.
As the emotions rise the individual camps raise their flags higher and higher, bigger and bigger, looking for all sorts of additional reasons to be right - even if they are the most unrelated things you can imagine (think of the last time you had a row with your partner, then all of a sudden, from nowhere came an unrelated comment like 'well you always leave the toilet seat up'. In an attempt to be right, other issues are brought into the mix, and more than likely, the original issue, has been overshadowed by points scoring.
Be it political, religious or any other differing of opinion - it is of course just that - a differing of opinion, the opinion which we see through our eyes, from our viewpoint, through our experiences. Remember, the other person has the same way of building their opinions, which may most likely differ from ours.
On the other hand, (and again this is subjective if you look very deep as to what is doing the right thing), by trying to DO the right thing, rather than BEING right in your own eyes, has a chance of diffusing the situation. By acknowledging a difference of opinion, and not trying to prove anything or be anything, other than acknowledge it, there is no argument to have.
If of course, we are one step beyond that, and fall-out has occurred, there is a relatively simple way to stop that escalating. It is a phrase which George Kinder, the father of the Life Planning movement used when put in a very difficult situation (again, an escalated difference of opinion). It is something like "I am truly sorry that anything I have done would have caused you to feel this way, that was the last of my intentions". There is no comeback to that, no argument, it is a massive way of diffusing the situation.
Lets look at it :
1. You have stopped being confrontational
2. They hear the word sorry
3. You are not being specific about one aspect of the argument by the use of 'anything'
4. You express the fact that you never intended to upset them (which is hopefully the case)
5. There is time for emotions to settle
6. Once everything is calm, a rational discussion can take place
It may seem a little tough to comprehend, that when you believe you are right to be saying sorry to someone. It is not about who has the biggest flag waving in the air, it is about being an admirable enough person to take that step, deal with the situation, and resolve it, that is the art of excellent communication with others.
Rather than having to always be right, how about going about doing what is right.
"I am truly sorry that anything I have done would have caused you to feel this way, that was the last of my intentions".