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Agree to Disagree
Ned Flanders: Well, I guess this is a case where we'll have to agree to disagree.
Principal Skinner: I don't agree to that.
Ms. Krabappel: Neither do I!
The Simpsons, "The PTA Disbands"

We all have different opinions and beliefs, and we all believe we are right and everyone else is wrong. However, that doesn't mean we have to be enemies. Instead, we can acknowledge that opinions may differ and let each other do our own thing.

This trope can either be invoked as a Stock Phrase or used to resolve a conflict. Sometimes it's a good point, acknowledging that further argument would be counter- or unproductive—especially if there are bigger problems to think about. Other times, it's an excuse to avoid a fight without pointing out that one side's opinions are actually wrong.

For an example to count, the exact phrase "agree to disagree" doesn't have to be invoked, but it has to be something with the same (literal or underlying) meaning. That most people actually simply agree to disagree on most things most of the time does not count, the trope only comes into play when it's invoked and/or actively used to try to diffuse a conflict.

Compare Both Sides Have a Point.


Examples

Anime and Manga
  • In Bakuman。, several older manga artists attempt to make a comeback in Jump. Mashiro sympathizes with their efforts, as his uncle had tried to get serialized from when his contract expired to his death, but while Takagi understands why Mashiro thinks this, he believes that people who fail in Jump should not be given a second chance. Neither convinces the other of his perspective, and they decide to drop the argument.

Fan Fiction
  • In Necessary To Win, this is Miho's typical reaction when meeting people who disagree with her on certain regards, especially when, after the match with Anzio, she gives a speech about her desire to be there for her comrades, to which Anchovy replies by saying that she should win for them if she cares about them.
    "Miho remained silent. She had made her point and saw no point in preaching to someone already set in her ways, especially when Anchovy was in no mood to hear it."

Film
  • Out Of Step: "We'll just have to agree or disagree about this, but thanks for coming Jenny."
  • Invoked in Chameleon Street, not as a way to resolve a a conflict but simply as a way to appear less obtrusive.
  • Used in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.
  • Eliot Ness says it in The Untouchables.
  • Mentioned amid the legalese spouted by the "court-appointed theatrical agent" in The Running Man; Richards and the government "have agreed to disagree."
  • This is pretty much Boris the Animal's Catch Phrase in Men In Black 3.

Literature

Live-Action TV
  • Invoked in the True Blood episode "Release Me".
  • Interesting variant in the Red Dwarf episode "Polymorph". Angerless Rimmer constantly says things like "Good point, let's take that on board" or "Well, let's put that on the back-burner for now", but really he's completely ignoring everyone else's opinions, until the discussion concludes with everyone else ignoring his. Everyone's opinions at this point are completely insane because they're all missing an emotion.
  • Invoked by Paradox on Community during the second season finale.
  • Murdoch Mysteries: Constable George Crabtree is a Malaproper and he says they have searched the crime scene "stem to sternum". Detective Murdoch corrects him that the expression is "stem to stern", but George insists on his wording and that they will have to agree to disagree.

Music
  • Invoked in Phil Collins' song "That's Just the Way it Is," from But Seriously (the song, for the record, is about the Troubles):
    You see the dying, you feel the pain/What have you got to say?/If we agreed that we can disagree/We could stop all of this today.
  • In the song "Ghetto" by POD:
    We don't always see things the same;
    We should agree to disagree.
  • In the song "I Don't Believe You" by the Magnetic Fields, the singer suggests that he and the subject agree to disagree over whether she loves him. She claims she does, but he thinks that she is lying.

Video Games
  • In Max Payne 2, during a discussion about bad decisions and predestination, Vlad invokes this when Max doesn't agree with his views.
  • During the swordfight with Morgan at the beginning of Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 2: The Siege of Spinner Cay, Guybrush tries using this exchange:
    Guybrush: Can't we just agree to disagree?
    Morgan: Not gonna happen.

Webcomics

Web Original

Western Animation
  • Played straight & discussed in The Simpsons episode "The PTA Disbands", with people not agreeing to agree to disagree.
    Principal Skinner: I don't agree to that.
    Ms. Krabappel: Neither do I!
  • Played with on CatDog:
    Cat: We can't agree on anything!
    Dog: I disagree! I think we can agree.
    Cat: See? We can't even agree to disagree on disagreeing!
  • In Green Lantern: Emerald Knights, Sinestro and Abin Sur agree to disagree on whether or not a Green Lantern ring works off of fate or science.
  • In the South Park Whole Plot Reference to Scooby-Doo, "Korn's Groovy Pirate Ghost Mystery", there is a discussion about the proper way to describe the ghosts.
    David: They're not pirate ghosts, Jonathan, they're ghost pirates.
    Jonathan: Huh?
    David: "Pirate ghost" would suggest that a pirate died, and became a ghost, but a ghost pirate is a ghost that later made a conscious decision to be a pirate.
    Munky: No, David. Then they are pirate ghosts, because they're the ghosts of pirates.
    Fieldy: You're wrong, because there were no pirates in Colorado. So these must be ghosts that have decided to become pirates after the fact.
    Jonathan: But that makes them pirate ghosts.
    David: No. It makes them ghost pirates.
    Munky: Pirate ghosts!
    Head: Guys! Guys! Guys! Fighting isn't gonna solve anything. Don't you see? This is exactly what those ghost pirates want us to do.
    Jonathan: Pirate ghosts.

Real Life
  • Averted by Aumann's agreement theorem, which states that two rational people will always agree.
    • Double subverted by pretty much every human ever, who either is irrational, doesn't accept that the other side is rational, or both. Technically, you could have something where Alice is rational, and she believes Bob is rational, but she doesn't believe that Bob believes she's rational, so she won't agree with Bob, but it doesn't generally get that far.
      • Or rather the case that there is asymetry of information and unequal priori believes.

Psychology TropesPhilosophy TropesAmbiguous Situation
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Yes-ManStock AesopsWith Us or Against Us
Actual PacifistMorality TropesAlignment-Based Endings

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