Politics and Personal Relationships

Conversation Guide

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How can we better maintain and create relationships and work towards healthy communities in spite of political differences? Is this even possible? This conversation allows us to start exploring how we can disagree and still care about each other and how we can work together when we find agreement. Whatever our differences, let’s identify the shared values that we can build on for the good of our country. Generosity. Kindness. Freedom. Respect. Human dignity.

Background Information:

Political diversity is essential to some conversations. Especially with polarized topics, we encourage you to take extra care to include people who hold different political views. Engaging only with people who hold similar views can lead to further entrenchment of our own beliefs and more polarization. 
When inviting guests, consider all kinds of differences – age, culture, political leaning, gender – what voices are you most interested to hear from? What voices might best enrich your conversation?

Let's Get Started!

This Living Room Conversation flows through three rounds of questions and a closing. Some rounds ask you to answer each question. Others feature multiple questions that serve as conversation starters — you need only respond to the one or two you find most interesting.

Before You Begin...

Please go over the Conversation Agreements with your participants.

Introductions: Getting Started/
Why Are We Here?

What interested you or drew you to this conversation?

Round 1: Core Values

Answer one or more of the following:
  • What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?
  • What would your best friend say about who you are and what inspires you?
  • What are your hopes and concerns for your community and/or the country?

Round 2:

What's Next U.S.?

Remember that the goal for this Living Room Conversation is for all of us to listen and learn about where we have different opinions and where we have shared interests, intentions and goals. Answer ​one or more of the following questions:
  • Despite partisan division, what core values do you think Americans fundamentally agree on?
  • What have you done to stay connected with people you care about who have different political perspectives?
  • Have you had any relationships damaged by politics? What is a first step you might take to begin to repair them?
  • What is an issue that you believe could be addressed by first acknowledging shared values? What common ground solutions could you then explore?

Round 3: Reflection & Next Steps

Answer ​one or more​ of the following questions:
  • In one sentence, share what was most meaningful or valuable to you in the experience of this Living Room Conversation?
  • What new understanding or common ground did you find within this topic?
  • Has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group, including yourself?
  • Name one important thing that was accomplished here.
  • Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?

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