Politics and Personal Relationships

Overview
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.
Related Resources
  • Learn all about Living Room Conversations here.
  • Visit our Election Resource Page here. 
  • View our tip sheet for hosting your own conversation here
  • Sign up to get involved with Living Room Conversations here
Round 1 (~5 minutes)

Say Hello, Read the Technical Guidelines

Welcome to the conversation!  While waiting for others to join, please review the technical guidelines below for a smooth online conversation experience. Greet other conversation participants as they join. Click "Proceed to Next Round" together, once you have enough people to start your conversation.

Stick together through the conversation rounds.
Complete each conversation round together. Each person then clicks "Next Round" to proceed to the next round. Don't worry if you clicked at the wrong time; you can each move forward and backward freely through the rounds.

Keep an eye on the time.
The conversation timer helps you stay on track. You will not be forced to move through the rounds at a specific pace; you can agree to speak longer.

Keep yourself muted when not speaking.
When you are not speaking, press your mute button to eliminate background noise and echo. When you are speaking, remember to unmute.

Keep your video on at all times.
Make sure the correct video source is switched "on." If you are having bandwidth trouble, however, you can turn off your video to improve audio performance.

Having audio or video problems?
Be sure to click "allow" if prompted for microphone and camera access. Try refreshing your browser - you'll come right back into the conversation.

Click "Need Help?" button for additional help.
Access troubleshooting tips, submit a ticket, and learn about other support options.
Round 2 (~10 minutes)

Conversation Agreements: How We'll Engage

Take turns going around the group and reading each one of these agreements aloud, until all have been read.

Be Curious and Open to Learning.
Listen to and be open to hearing all points of view. Maintain an attitude of exploration and learning. Conversation is as much about listening as it is about talking.

Show Respect and Suspend Judgment.
Human beings tend to judge one another, do your best not to. Setting judgments aside will better enable you to learn from others and help them feel respected and appreciated.

Look for Common Ground and Appreciate Differences.
In this conversation, we look for what we agree on and simply appreciate that we will disagree on some beliefs and opinions.

Be Authentic and Welcome that from Others.
Share what’s important to you. Speak authentically from your personal and heartfelt experience. Be considerate to others who are doing the same.

Be Purposeful and to the Point.
Notice if what you are conveying is or is not “on purpose” to the question at hand. Notice if you are making the same point more than once.

Own and Guide the Conversation.
Take responsibility for the quality of your participation and the conversation by noticing what’s happening and actively support getting yourself and others back “on purpose” when needed.
Round 3 (~15 minutes)

Question Set #1: Get to Know Each Other

Each participant can take 1-2 minutes to answer one of these questions:

  • What are your hopes and concerns for your family, community and/or the country?
  • What would your best friend say about who you are?
  • What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?
Round 4 (~5 minutes)

Read the Topic Overview

One participant can volunteer to read the topic description.

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.
Round 5 (~30 minutes)

Question Set #2: Listen and Share to Understand

Take ~2-3 minutes each to answer a question below without interruption or crosstalk. After everyone has answered, the group may take a few minutes for clarifying or follow up questions/responses. Continue exploring additional questions as time allows. 

  • 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 6 (~10 minutes)

Question Set #3: Reflect on the Conversation

Take ~2 minutes each to answer one of the following questions:

  • What was most meaningful / valuable to you in this Living Room Conversation?
  • What learning, new understanding or common ground was found on the topic?
  • How has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group?
  • Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation?
Round 7 (~5 minutes)

Check Out, Say Goodbye

Each participant should say goodbye to other conversation group members, then close your browser to exit the conversation.