Today, conversations about politics with people on the other side of the aisle from you can be downright dangerous. Some people would advise that we all just stick to the topic of the weather, reminiscent of Henry Higgins’ advice to Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady.
But if you determine certain parameters beforehand with a conversational partner (like no name-calling, ask only curious questions instead of loaded questions, respond with empathy instead of vitriol, etc.), then it really is possible to have a connected conversation.
With the midterm elections behind us, my Seattle-dwelling, liberal friend, Kellie Newton, sent me a text: “Wanna talk about the midterms?” As always, my heart jumped into my throat. My communication style in conflict is a Turtle- I prefer to keep my head hidden safely in my shell. But as co-founder of the Heart Perception Project, I’m learning to take big steps of faith in my communication skills.
So, Kellie and I hopped on video and had a conversation. It was good, and necessary, and worth it. With our nation so tragically divided, heart-centered conversations with people on the other side of the aisle are one of the best ways to span the gulf.