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1:1 Conversations

A novel way for Americans with different backgrounds to connect as people and as citizens who are concerned for their country.
The process involves one or two hour-long conversations between two people using a structured conversation guide. The goals are to better understand the experiences, feelings, and beliefs of the other person, discover any areas of commonality, and share ideas for how to bridge differences across our country.

The Process

"If you’re thinking of participating in 1:1 conversations, just jump on into it! You’ll be glad for the experience!"
Deena Recker, Red
"I think of each conversation as a sturdy brick. A brick is a small thing, but thousands of bricks together–thousands of pairs of people talking to each other–can build a mighty bridge."
Donna Murphy, Blue
"This was a great experience. It demonstrates how the world is changed: one person at a time from the inside out."
Tim Holmes, Blue

The Six Types

The Golden Rule

Connecting people across one of our differences for a discussion about The Golden Rule

Red/Blue

Connecting one conservative and one liberal/progressive to share what each believe and want for the country

Rural/Urban

Connecting one rural or small-town dweller with one person from an urban or suburban area to better understand each other’s worlds

Conversation About Race, Ethnicity and Culture

Connecting two people from different racial, ethnic or cultural groups

Conversation Across Generations

Connecting one person 18-30 years old with one person 61+ years old

Photo credit: Philip Street/CBC

NEW! Conversation about Israeli-Palestinian Relations

Conversation type 1 connects an Israeli-leaning person with a Palestinian-leaning one. Type 2 connects two Jews who disagree on Israeli government policy toward Palestinians.

Get Started

Please listen to Braver Angels co-founder Bill Doherty’s 2.5 minute audio introduction

Read ‘It’s About Relationships’, an optional 2-minute article by Donna N. Murphy.

You can either find your own conversation partner, click here to fill out a form for us to find you a partner for one of the first five conversations, or click here to fill out a form for us to find you a partner for the 1:1 Conversation About Israeli-Palestinian Relations. 

Our ability to pair you depends entirely on who else signs up that is different from you. Sign-ups can be lopsided.  That’s why we appreciate your flexibility. Although we try to give people their first preference for the first five conversations, sometimes we need to give them a second or third preference for type of conversation.

When signing up for the first five conversations, please rank your preference of conversations.  You must rank at least two preferences, and we encourage you to rank all the conversations that apply to you. All five conversations are excellent! The vast majority of people are paired within a few days to three weeks.

Please note that if you sign up, you are making a commitment to take part in a conversation. You will be asked to provide an email address and phone number (cell phone if at all possible).

Once you have a partner, unless you are meeting in person, please choose an online platform with which you are comfortable.

Many people are comfortable with Zoom.  Here is a step-by-step guide which includes how to pick your device, download Zoom, handle audio and video, invite your conversation partner, and view the 1:1 conversation guide on screen, or watch this short video to learn how to start a Zoom meeting, invite your partner to join, and arrange Windows to see the conversation guide on screen.

Free, Basic Zoom meetings between 2 or more people are subject to a 40-minute time limit, so if you have access to a Pro or Business account, please use that. If not, here is a workaround that enables you to continue your conversation beyond 40 minutes.

Other online platforms include Google Meet, FaceTime, WhatsApp and Skype.  It’s preferable that you see each other, so use a telephone only if other options don’t work. You two set the dates and times for your conversations. 

It is mandatory to use the conversation guide for your particular 1:1 conversation. That’s what structures your conversation! Please have the guide in front of you during the conversation.

You can print out the conversation guide in advance (one guide contains both conversations when there are two) by clicking on the appropriate link: 1:1 Golden Rule1:1 Red/Blue; 1:1 Conversation Across Generations;  1:1 Rural/Urban; 1:1 Conversation About Race, Ethnicity or Culture; or 1:1 Conversation About Israeli-Palestinian Relations. Then click on File, Download as a Microsoft Word doc, and click on the file that appears in the bottom left-hand corner. Once the Word doc is open, click on File, then Print.

After finishing your 1:1 Conversation, please complete this quick, confidential survey to share your feedback about your conversation. We dearly hope that you and your partner will continue to stay in touch with each other.

For any of the first five types of 1:1 Conversations, please sign up by clicking on the button below.

For the Israeli-Palestinian Relations Conversation, please sign up by clicking on the button below.

FAQ

Yes, we will pair you again provided you fill out the sign-up form again after you complete your first conversation. If you do not fall into one of the categories listed in the next paragraph, we can pair you for a maximum of two conversations. If you want more, please do find your own conversation partners. Exception: we will happily pair anyone for multiple 1:1 Golden Rule Conversations.

We especially encourage the following types of people to sign up for multiple conversations: Reds for a Red/Blue conversation; Rural/Small-town dwellers for a Rural/Urban conversation; 18-30 year olds for a Conversation Across Generations; and non-White people for a Conversation about Race, Ethnicity and Culture.

We do not vet participants. We assume that those who sign up for these conversations do so in good faith. In the rare instance that someone we pair you with behaves in an utterly inappropriate manner, let us know at 1-1@braverangels.org so that we do not pair them with anyone else.

We pair adults 18 years and older via our sign-up form. Teachers and other secular or religious leaders are free to pair those under 18 with each other for 1:1 conversations using our conversation guides.

For college instructors interested in assigning 1:1 Conversations to students, please check out this 1-pager on how to get involved.

Yes. This guide is designed for one in-person conversation of up to 75 minutes in length between two people.

Occasionally a partner doesn’t follow the rules. You should react according to how this impacts you. For example, a partner may take longer than the time allotted to answer a question. This may not bother you. When both partners are amenable, conversations can run well over an hour. If you don’t have extra time, however, or you find the longwindedness troublesome, keep track of time using a stopwatch, and gently interrupt your partner when the time limit is reached. 
 
If a partner asks questions that bother you and are not in the conversation guide, you can respond with humor, “Gosh, I didn’t see that question in the conversation guide” and “Please let’s stick to the questions we’re supposed to answer.” Any age difference between partners shouldn’t matter: a younger partner should feel as free to enforce the conversation guardrails as an older one.
 
If you feel your partner’s not following the rules has gotten too far out of hand, you can cut the conversation short: “For me it’s important to follow the rules, so this conversation just isn’t working out. Gotta run.” Please contact us at 1-1@braverangels.org if you think we should know about the problem.

Tell your friends, relatives and acquaintances about Braver Angels 1:1 Conversations. If you wish, you can cut and paste the wording in this template into an email, revise and personalize it as desired, and email it to 5-10 others. We’re especially appreciative when you spread the word among conservatives, 18-30 year olds, non-White people, and rural/small town dwellers.

Braver Angels Support