all about
living room conversations

our story


Living Room Conversations (LRC) connects people within communities and across differences through dialogue to build trust and understanding. 

We believe belonging starts with conversation and are committed to designing the resources and opportunities that allow everyone to feel seen and heard while celebrating the differences that make us unique. Our four organizational pillars help to guide our work and everything that we do.


We hope for a world in which people who have fundamental differences of opinion and backgrounds learn to work together with respect – and even joy – to realize the vibrant future we all desire for ourselves and our families.

Where is your living room?

Steeped in the tradition of gathering in parlors to talk (parlor or parlour comes from the French and means a “place for speaking”), Living Room Conversations bring people together to generate understanding and connection. The parlor of today is any place – physical or online – where we find ourselves connecting with others. Our unique conversational model makes it easy for anyone to create a safe and welcoming environment where people can respectfully discuss important issues.

Welcome to your first step into the world of bridging divides and using conversation to increase understanding. Whether you have five minutes to answer one thought-provoking question or want to be part of a longer conversation, we can help. Check out our topic guides and and get talking today!

click above to watch a Ted Talks with Living Room Conversations co-founder Joan Blades

Free yourself from your filter bubbles

Joan Blades (co-founder, Living Room Conversations) and John Gable (founder, AllSides want you to make friends with people who vote differently than you do. A pair of political opposites, the two longtime pals know the value of engaging in honest conversations with people you don’t immediately agree with. Join them as they explain how to bridge the gaps in understanding between people on opposite sides of the political spectrum — and create opportunities for mutual listening and consideration (and, maybe, lasting friendships).

the pilot

In late 2010, Joan Blades partnered with dialogue experts, Walt Roberts, Debilyn Molineaux, Amanda Kathryn Roman and Heather Tischbein, to create a structured, intimate conversation format that would empower everyday citizens to discuss important issues with friends of differing political affiliations and backgrounds.

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The theory was that if two friends with different points of view each invited two friends to join a conversation, with full disclosure about the intent and structure of the conversation, they could create a safe space for a respectful and meaningful exchange of ideas, develop new relationships and perhaps find common ground. This was the Living Room Conversations pilot project. By early 2011, the pilot revealed that the Living Room Conversations structure worked. Both the observed and independent conversations were successful. Participants found they were anxious at the outset but soon felt comfortable using the format. In fact, these early conversations fostered relationships that continue to this day.

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the project

Inspired by the success of the pilot, Amanda Kathryn Roman and Joan Blades formed a transpartisan political partnership, recruited an advisory board and launched the website to make the Living Room Conversations open-source format available to individuals and organizations around the country.

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Their hope was to empower participants to begin to reweave the fabric of our civil society by demonstrating that respectful conversation can enrich our lives and enable us to create better solutions to the challenges we face together.

Early participants had conversations about the role of government, money in politics, immigration, gay marriage and more. In 2013, our first high profile conversation, cohosted by Joan Blades and Mark Meckler (Tea Party Patriots), discussed crony capitalism and identified the need for criminal justice reform as an area of 100% agreement. common ground This led to further discussion and impactful collaborative action. Living Room Conversations is constantly evolving. We have a growing list of champions who speak publicly about Living Room Conversations or use the format in their work, as well as a growing number of partners who are using our open-source format in large and small ways. We look forward to developing and sharing materials for more issue areas, and creating a cycle of online-to-offline community building as we learn from and support each other in becoming a more respectful, civil society.

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frequently asked questions

Living Room Conversations are structured to increase understanding, reveal common ground and allow us to discuss possible solutions. No fancy event or skilled facilitator is typically needed. When people of all walks of life begin to care about one another, they can begin working together to solve the problems of our time.

Cohosts are best when they have a different perspective than you. Think about your friends with whom you have respectful disagreements.  

Cohosts are great, but not necessary, so don’t feel constrained if you can’t find one.

Think about people who are interested in having meaningful conversations about our world.  Conversations are richest and most fun when there is diversity of perspective represented. Think about many kinds of differences: age, gender, culture, politics and more. You may be surprised at the range of opinion on a particular topic in a group that seems homogeneous.

  • Use the Living Room Conversations Facebook page and/or join our Facebook Organizer community and make a request for diverse conversation partners.
  • Choose a topic where the participants express different viewpoints (e.g. Status & Privilege, Relationships First, Future of Work).
  • Recognize that we are all different and there is tremendous value in cultivating skills in listening and conversation.

While you don’t need to provide food or beverages, having those available is a hospitable gesture that supports conversation. When we share snacks together, we tend to be more sociable. Having a potluck or meeting at a coffee shop can work.

Living Room Conversations can happen anywhere a small group of people can gather in a comfortable and relatively private space. You can even gather online using platforms like Zoom, or our preferred video conversation platform, Junto (in beta testing).

Absolutely! Community meetings are happening in several places in the country. We’ve developed a guide based on our experience that can help you plan.

What’s most important is being in a space where you and the group feel safe to have a conversation that explores your values and opinions. It’s also important that your conversation be in a place where others are not disturbed. Someone’s home may be the best place. Sitting under a tree in a park or in a coffee shop might also work.

No facilitator necessary! All you need is the conversation guide. Everyone in the group is responsible to own and guide the conversation. This said, with a video Living Room Conversation it is often helpful to have one of the hosts get things started and watch the time so that the conversation can wrap up in time.

The materials are absolutely free! Living Room Conversations is an open source project. Please use, share and modify with attribution to

The conversation guides—more than 100 of them!— are found under topics on the website.

You can read the conversation agreements here! 

The conversation agreements are six common sense ground rules for engaging in a respectful conversation that supports openness and curiosity rather than debate. They let people know what is expected of them and create a safe environment for a great conversation.

The conversation agreements are found under “resources” on the website and are available as the first page of the pdf conversation guides.

You can watch or listen to a recorded Living Room Conversation here.

We also host monthly Living Room Conversation LIVE events, where you can watch a streaming conversation in real time. Sign up for the next one or watch our past LIVE events here.

The best way to learn about Living Room Conversation is to participate in one.

You can see highlights of a conversation here as well as a complete conversation here. Watch even more LRCs and related videos and podcasts on our Watch and Listen page. 

You can help Living Room Conversations grow and expand by completing our feedback form or by writing a blog telling us about your experience. We’d love to see photos of your group (just contact us about that) and to hear your suggestions for topics you’d be interested in hosting.