(Controversial topic with many shades!)

Another challenging topic within the space (ahaha) of safe spaces, is whether disagreement is possible, or whether disagreement violates the safe space.

Disagreement by nature means that someone is uncomfortable with what has been spoken or shared. If they are comfortable to let it stand, they probably don’t disagree with what has been spoken, or are comfortable enough to let it pass. It’s why disagreement is often viewed as an enemy of safe spaces – even though disagreement can be very healthy. Healthy disagreement and reframing might even be necessary to avoid the person sharing to further spin into a false perception of reality, in a mental health safe space.

When is disagreement unhelpful? When it questions someone’s experience of a real event (sometimes, by questioning whether the event happened). When it questions someone’s feelings or emotions. When it dismisses because the listener is uncomfortable with the truth of what happened, rather than when the listener is simply seeking to establish a ground truth to further the conversation.

If we disagree to end a conversation and impose our views, the space is no longer safe. Which conversely means that sometimes, in order to stay safe, we must disagree.