Our sages tell us that peace is the greatest blessing, and that it’s what G‑d wants most for and from us.1 As long as we’re all getting along, G‑d can overlook certain transgressions, but if we’re keeping mitzvot while quarreling and engaging in strife, then we are judged more strictly.2

Shalom (“peace”) is one of G‑d’s names.3 In Hebrew, the word for both hello and goodbye is shalom; that’s how we are meant to greet each other, with a blessing of peace.

Here are some ways to keep the peace, whether we are coming or going.

1. G‑d wants peace so much that we are permitted to “alter” a narrative in order to keep peace.4 A lot of people end up sacrificed on the altar of truth when it’s not necessary. I’m not saying that you should lie outright—just not reveal the whole truth if it isn’t critical and it will lead to strife.

2. People are fond of having the last word in an argument. By doing so, they feel as if they’ve won (even if they haven’t). Yet the opposite is true; the person who has the last word is left with a lack of closure if the other person doesn’t respond. If you stop arguing, it doesn’t mean that you agree with the other person; it just means that you don’t feel that arguing is worthwhile.

3. Stay clear of incendiary topics of conversation, especially on social media, where it’s so easy to get into conflict. And when someone offers it, don’t take the bait.

4. Be respectful and polite. Derech eretz kadma l’Torah—“Good manners are prerequisites for a Torah life.”5 Even if you disagree, be gracious about it. Conflicts arise more because of how something is said than what is said. Speak clearly, calmly, gently and succinctly. And, of course, don’t insult anyone.

5. We often act as if the person who disagrees with us can change reality simply by virtue of their differing opinion. They can’t. The fact that they believe something different from you doesn’t suddenly make it true. True, it may be annoying to hear, but if someone says something disparaging about you or something you believe in, it doesn’t actually change anything. That is their opinion. You can try and change it, but you probably won’t succeed.

6. If you want to influence someone to do something you feel is beneficial, do it in a loving, positive way. The words of the wise are heeded when spoken pleasantly.6 The more positive a person you are, the more people will want to agree with you. Be the kind of person people love and admire, and they will be more prone to agree with you. Abraham managed to get so many followers to Monotheism because he looked and acted like a prince of G‑d, and so others flocked to him to listen to his views.

7. Work towards a common goal. Focus on what you do agree with rather than what you disagree with. When you shift the focus, the conflict dissipates.

8. There are people who feast on conflict. They fight for the sake of it, not for truth. Stay away from these people. Far, far away.

9. When you are at fault, mistaken or wrong, admit it, and if necessary, apologize. Don’t dig in your heels even when you are in the wrong. King David is praised for admitting his error when the prophet Samuel chastised him.7 His predecessor, King Saul, lost his kingdom because not only did he disobey G‑d, but he tried to justify it.8

10. There are some things worth fighting for. Money and honor are not two of them. Anything involving defending your honor or fighting over money will end badly even if you win. We are taught to actively flee from honor,9 and, that ultimately, money comes from G‑d,10 who decides exactly how much we should have.

11. Make sure that you have your facts straight before you enter into an argument. So many arguments could be avoided if people actually knew what they were talking about. You will be able to converse with greater conviction and less vitriol.

12. Give to others and desire their good. If they feel that you truly care about them—that even in disagreement you are emanating love, acceptance and concern—they’re less likely to see you as an opponent and will be willing to consider your views. At the very least, they won’t argue with you.

13. Look at other people not only as physical beings, but as having an inner Divine soul. If you see beyond their superficial faults to the core of their beautiful soul, it will be easier to accept and love them, and avoid conflict with them.11