How to Find Common Ground—in Spite of Differing Views

What do you do when people have the audacity to think differently than you do? Here’s how you can stay open and curious in moments of disagreement, instead of getting stuck in defensiveness.

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Gender identity. The environment. Politics, guns, and gluten. These breezy topics are great for family dinners, watercooler chit-chat, and neighborly how-dee-doos. Yes, they’re perfect conversation starters if you want to discover how differently other people see the world. And not just those other guys down the road there, but also your near and dear ones. You know people you love, cherish, admire—the ones you thought for sure were seeing things your way.

For instance, few things have brought us into greater unexpected conflict with those we love than the question of vaccination status. We live in a time that privileges individual freedom of thought, action, and choice. Great! Until Aunt Jiji and Uncle JoJo tell you, just as you are biting down on a buttery piece of bbq they’ve handed you, that they’ve made different choices than you have about being vaccinated. At that moment, as many thoughts and feelings arise, what are you to do?

How Are You Seeing the World?

Each of us believes the way we see the world is the way the Big Bopper intended. When we uncover someone’s belief that we should all wear clown costumes to…