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Ready to chat with the ‘other side’?


How well do you know the people who hold opposing views to you? How many times have you sat down with people on the other side and just talked? No arguing, no debating, no cursing.

If our country is currently at the cusp of civil war, the last deterrent may well be an empathetic ear. By listening to those whom you disagree with, without needing to agree with them, you can learn more than you’d expect. It’s employing diplomacy and communication before releasing bombs and firepower. And most importantly, it’s about realizing that “the other side” is just as human as you are. 

At Braver Angels, we organize what we call 1:1 Conversations between people who lean conservative (Reds) and people who lean liberal (Blues) and across generations to talk about important issues and ideas around race, ethnicity, culture, and etc. We pair individuals who share different worldviews, put faces to the abstract “other,” and sit them together for each person to share their experiences, struggles, and stories. No one is obligated to change their worldview or make friends. There’s a different objective, and it’s simple: to expose people from both sides of a divide to one another and encourage active, empathetic, and personal connections that will help us work towards bridging our differences in America. There is a lot more to learn from each other from one single conversation, one story, and one person. 

Take a look at the way our Braver Angels 1:1 Conversations work to help and guide our 1:1 pairs to engage and learn more about each other. Here’s how: 

  1. Preparation: First, we ensure that both participants are open to discuss in a way that’s friendly, non-confrontational, and empathetic. We emphasize that the practice is a simple opportunity for both parties to engage and share with one another rather than debate, teach, or declare one’s own opinions. 
  2. Guidance: We provide you with a series of questions to ask each other that go deeper as you talk. This is to help you get started on the conversation—break the ice! What do you do? Take turns speaking and listening to one another. Learn not to interrupt each other, but to wait and later share what you might’ve learned from them. See if there’s anything you both have in common and be sure to note it.
  3. Make a Difference: Both people in the pair are then encouraged to come with up a few action items to leave the conversation with. What can you do now, after your guided conversation, to make a difference in your own life or community? How can you apply what you’ve learned to your everyday life?
  4. Make a Friend: At this point, if participants are willing, we leave the space open for both of you to continue talking to one another. You can discuss current events, the weather outside, or how many pets you both have! (Trust us; it works!) 

Our 1:1 Conversation program is meant to help everyone humanize the other side. In the heat of arguments, it’s too easy to think of those who  disagree with you as monsters. On the internet, we get disconnected from one another and polarized, unable to understand that — despite our differences — the “other” is a complex person with their own life stories and reasoning. Take this opportunity to put a face to the “other.” Listen and communicate and find out why.
Ready to take an hour out of your day to come together and just chat? Register and find more information on our Braver Angels 1:1 Conversations here.

More to explore

Help us build a movement

Our 2024 National Convention, taking place in Kenosha, WI this June 27-29, will be a launching pad for better, more hopeful politics. We’re going to Kenosha to create hope – American Hope – and we need your help.

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