Today, we're asking you to have a conversation with a living person, face-to-face, who voted differently than you did. This can mean in any race, for any party or as independents.
The goal of this conversation is to learn something.
The goal is not to be persuaded or to persuade. It's not to establish rightness and wrongness. It's not to score points. If you leave the conversation thinking, "well, this one thing he/she said was interesting," you did it!
Here are some tips:
- Don't have a stake intellectually, emotionally, or otherwise in the other person's thoughts and feelings. Make "you do you" your mantra.
- When you feel yourself reacting negatively to something you hear, hit pause in your mind. Ask yourself 1. "Why am I reacting this way?" and 2. "What could this conversation be like without my reaction?"
- If you aren't finding common ground, that's fine. Channel your inner talk show host and conduct a kind, respectful interview of the person. Ask things like, "when did you first start to think about the election that way?" "Have you always voted for this party?" "When you think about future elections, what's really important to you?" "What do you think the biggest challenge for the next four years will be?" "What do you think will be important to shaping the outcome of the mid-term elections?"
- Don't make assumptions, and recognize when the other person is making assumptions. When you realize the other person is making a statement based on assumptions about you, call that out: "I understand why you'd think that I support XYZ since many people in my party do. But my perspective is different."
- Keep it calm. If you're talking to someone who wants to amp the conversation up, just don't go there. Instead, say things like: "I don't know what you mean when you say [inflammatory term]. Can you share what that means to you?" "Hey, I'm trying to learn from our conversation, not debate. So can you say more about that?" "Do you mind if I take some notes while we talk?" (I don't know why, but trust me! When you start taking notes, it reminds people that having some level of civility is important).
Good luck, friends! Can't wait to hear about your conversations!