You used to more or less be able to decide when you wanted to wade into a potentially heated conversation. Now you can stumble into them multiple times a day, even within circles of folks where you felt like you basically saw most things in the same way. These are intense times we’re living through and disagreeing with friends and loved ones is becoming a bigger part of our landscape.
Disagreeing with Friends
Once upon a time (sigh) the major thing we had to disagree on was politics. Yes, the division between Democrat and Republican felt very wide, but you knew who in your life voted differently than you did and for the most part you could avoid the landmines., in the age of the corona, there are so many new things to disagree on. Things that don’t follow party lines, including whether to open schools, or wear masks. Heck, I got yelled at in the grocery store for going the wrong way down a newly one-way aisle!
There’s also the Black Lives Matter Movement which is turning all things racism related into daily fodder for conversation. Which is good. Wonderfully, vitally, powerfully good and our best hope of creating a society that is equitable for all. But it is also fraught and can really rattle your cage; whether you’re white or black.
So this week on the How to Be a Better Person podcast, I’m looking at confrontation through the lens of being a better person. Is it better to try to keep harmony within families or relationships and overlook the areas where you disagree? Or do we have a moral obligation to talk to the people we know and love about the things we disagree on in hopes of raising our collective consciousness?
I’ll be interviewing Sheila Heen, bestselling author of Difficult Conversations and a 20-year member of the Harvard Negotiation Project, on Friday for her insights. And in other episodes this week I’m sharing some basic better person principles we can apply in any conversation and specifically when disagreeing with friends. Things like letting go of the need to be right, embracing your influence, and looking for the places where you agree.
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