conversation topics

What do you want to talk about? We have over 150 topics to choose from. Our guides are designed so everyone feels like they can join the conversation. Search for what you want, look by category, or alphabetical order below.

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Bias

Describe a time where you felt bias was a key component of a situation or decision. What was the impact? One form of Bias is allowing your personal opinion to influence your judgment causing you to support or oppose a person, idea, or thing in a way often considered to

Trust In Elections

When you think about our voting practices, what hopes and concerns do you have for building trust in our electoral process? Trust is a critical component of building and maintaining healthy families, communities, institutions and countries. What happens when it starts to dwindle or is lost entirely? Trust is built

Empathy

How do you feel when someone else truly understands what you are going through? Empathy goes beyond concern or sympathy. Empathy is stepping into the shoes of another with the intention to better understand and feel what they are experiencing. It is expressed in our choice to be fully present

Trust

Who in your life do you trust and why? What institutions do you trust and why? Trust is a critical component of building and maintaining healthy families, communities, institutions and countries. This trust is built over time and can be challenged by people with different views or backgrounds as well

Climate Change

What is your experience when the conversation topic turns to climate change? It’s time to change the climate of our climate conversations by not huddling under our umbrellas with only those that think what we believe is true! Let’s be brave enough to curiously listen to a broad spectrum of

Belonging

Where do you want to feel a greater sense of belonging, yet haven’t and why? Belonging is identified as a basic human need in Maslow’s pyramid. Human beings are happier and healthier when they feel they belong and when that belonging lacks, it affects their self concept and ability to

Cancel Culture: Free Speech and Accountability

What do you see as the difference between “canceling someone” and “holding that person accountable”? What are some examples you have seen of this? With the advance of technology, it’s easy to broadcast our thoughts and feelings and connect with both friends and strangers online. With the rise of the

Conversations in Troubled Times

How has the recent news affected you? And people you love? Disruption, tragedy and conflict are part of our human story. Whether in our own backyard or internationally, deep histories of trauma and loss can make it difficult to speak about current events. For some people the hurt or anger

Holidays and Traditions

What experiences have you had sharing your traditions with others? When have others shared traditions with you? What was that like? ‘Tis the season where people start to put up lights and decorate their homes, where shopping centers sell seasonal adornments and ornaments, and we can smell the aroma of

Kindness

Where do you see people struggle to implement kindness? What gets in your own way of extending kindness? Kindness is simple, powerful, and contagious. It pushes us past niceties toward a sense of belonging and has the potential to heal and strengthen our communities in all their diversity and needs.

Healing

How do you know when something is in need of healing at the spiritual, mental, emotional and/or physical level? Healing takes many forms and can mean many things to different people. Going to the doctor and pharmacist can be part of the process of becoming healthy again. Accessing our internal

Affordable Housing

What changes related to housing costs do you see in your community? According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, housing is considered affordable when a person pays

America We Want To Be: Founding Aspirations

What is your personal commitment to creating the America you want? When the Declaration of Independence was written, not everyone was included in the famous statement about “pursuit of Life,

American Creed

What core values do you think Americans fundamentally agree on? American political leaders of all kinds throughout history have pointed out that American identity revolves around a set of ideals

Democracy, Extremism, and Outliers

How do you decide what is extreme, or so outside the norm, that it’s “crazy” or “dangerous” to society? Under democratic governance structures, people enjoy freedom to believe as they

Does My Vote Really Matter?

Are you registered to vote? What led you to that decision? Voting is how we choose our leaders and pass local laws. Is voting a duty or a choice? Data

Free Speech

How has social media impacted your views on free speech? When are limitations on free speech justified in America? With the advance of technology, it is easy to connect with

Free Speech, Fighting Words and Violence

How do we protect free speech and ensure public safety despite ongoing threats of violence? Some Americans feel violated by flag burning; some by racist rallies. As extremist groups use

Freedom

Is freedom at risk? If so, what are you concerned about? Freedom is a key concept in America’s founding documents. We are proud to be a free people. This said,

Healthcare

How are your health care needs met? Are you happy with your healthcare? Most people need healthcare at some time in their lives. And we all want healthcare in our

Immigration

What is at the heart of the immigration issue for you? Immigration has become a flash point in our politics. It is highly personal for a wide variety of reasons.

Abortion

Why can it be so difficult to talk about abortion? What is really at the heart of the debate? Abortion is seldom a topic that we speak about in casual

Affordable Housing

What changes related to housing costs do you see in your community? According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, housing is considered affordable when a person pays

Aging and Ageism

How have you experienced ageism? What assumptions do others make about you? What assumptions do you make about others based on their age? As soon as we are born, we

Alcohol

What guides your decision to use or abstain from alcohol? Alcohol is an important part of many cultures. Some of us enjoy drinking alcohol. Others don’t. Some of us are

Alone – Solitude or Isolation?

What are your best experiences of being alone? Our social nature is part of our humanity. People tend to like being with other people, and most of us need good

Artificial Intelligence

AI has many potential uses. Which ones excite and/or concern you? Artificial Intelligence or AI has rapidly emerged as a powerful new technology. Its ability to perform tasks requiring human

Being Asian American

What does being Asian mean to you? What about being American? How do those two identities relate to each other? What is the impact of having your ethnicity lumped into

Being Black in the Anti-Racist Movement

What thoughts and emotions have the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd brought up in you? What has this been like for you? The recent murders of

Mental Health for Educators

What do you wish the community understood about your work? How could others best support educators? Schools have been hit hard the past few years with COVID-19, an added complication

Resilient Schools, Resilient Kids

What part of your education or growing up, best prepared you for being a contributing adult? Much of the media coverage about our schools today talks about America’s failing education

Student Debt

Where or how do you see college debt affecting our economy and communities? College students leave school with more debt today than any previous generation. With the increasing costs of

Zero Tolerance

Have you or someone you know been impacted by a zero-tolerance policy? What happened? Zero Tolerance is a policy that has been used by schools (and other organizations – police,

Climate Change

What is your experience when the conversation topic turns to climate change? It’s time to change the climate of our climate conversations by not huddling under our umbrellas with only

Climate of Unity

How would you describe your relationship with or stewardship of the environment? We all want to live in a healthy environment, yet most of us make compromises to enjoy the

Energy and the Environment

Have you made any changes to the energy you use? Why? Since the 1970s, presidential candidates have used energy as a key platform promise, highlighting our need to be energy

Environment and Pollution

What effect has environmental pollution had on on your life? We all want to live in a healthy environment, yet most of us make compromises to enjoy the benefits of

Water and Life

Think about your life and experiences. What is your favorite memory or personal story with water or bodies of water? Water is an essential part of all our lives and

Faith and the LGBTQ+ Community

How do we maintain dignity in our relationship and connection to each other as we encounter varying beliefs and opinions around the intersection of faith, sexuality, and gender identity? Views

Faith Community: The Way Forward

What is the promise of our faith community to its members? To the surrounding community? Transitional times in faith communities may be accompanied by divisiveness about which changes are most

Faith in Politics

What type of influence would you like faith to have in our political system? How do we respect the rights of individuals in their pursuit of happiness and maintain a

Hope

Have you experienced a personal or collective sense of hope in action? What happened? Instead of resigning ourselves to our current situations, we can dream and build new possibilities. This

Kindness

Where do you see people struggle to implement kindness? What gets in your own way of extending kindness? Kindness is simple, powerful, and contagious. It pushes us past niceties toward

Politics in Faith Communities

How and where do you want to talk about the pressing issues of our communities and country? The First Amendment of our Constitution states: “Congress shall make no law respecting

Race and Faith Communities

How has your faith inspired you to respond to racial discrimination? Race and religion have a long and complicated history. From the crusades to the use of religion to uphold

Religious Freedom and Non-Discrimination

Is it possible to strike a balance between religious freedom or unfair discrimination? If so, how? Our constitution guarantees our freedom to express our religion. But what happens when our

Stewardship of Spirituality

When is a time you felt spiritually alive or awakened? Stewardship is the practice of caring for all that God has given us. Our sense of stewardship is usually directed

The UMC Rift: Faithfulness in Divided Times

How can we resist the temptation to “otherize” and judge each other harshly? A Special Session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church took place February 23-26, 2019

Abortion

Why can it be so difficult to talk about abortion? What is really at the heart of the debate? Abortion is seldom a topic that we speak about in casual

Communitarianism and Conservatism

To what extent does your community contribute to your identity or sense of self? The idea of conservatism evokes a spectrum of ideas, values and political positions. This conversation is

Death and Culture

What experiences have you had with major loss or death? How has that impacted your perception of life or shifted your priorities in life? We all share a common inheritance–

Faith and the LGBTQ+ Community

How do we maintain dignity in our relationship and connection to each other as we encounter varying beliefs and opinions around the intersection of faith, sexuality, and gender identity? Views

Fellowship and Friendships, the Rotary 4-Way-Test

Where and how do you find friends and develop friendships? In our current environment of miscommunication, misunderstanding and mistrust, what can we learn from the Rotary International principles and approach

Gender

What roles have you learned about gender from parents, school, peers, media, faith? Which do you hold true? And which do you break? What’s the big deal about gender? In

Hope

Have you experienced a personal or collective sense of hope in action? What happened? Instead of resigning ourselves to our current situations, we can dream and build new possibilities. This

Hunger and Health

Have you ever experienced a time of food insecurity in your life? What happened? We all want to ensure that everyone in our community has access to healthy, consistently available

Kindness

Where do you see people struggle to implement kindness? What gets in your own way of extending kindness? Kindness is simple, powerful, and contagious. It pushes us past niceties toward

LGBTQIA+: An Affinity Group Conversation

Where do you experience tension, if any, between your LGBTQIA+ identity and other parts of your identity? How does that impact you? Being part of the LGBTQIA+ community means many

Affordable Housing

What changes related to housing costs do you see in your community? According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, housing is considered affordable when a person pays

Crony Capitalism

Which relationships between business and government are you most concerned about right now? Cronyism is a term describing an economy in which success in business depends on close relationships between

Energy and the Environment

Have you made any changes to the energy you use? Why? Since the 1970s, presidential candidates have used energy as a key platform promise, highlighting our need to be energy

Money and Values

What does money mean or represent to you? How we earn, spend and invest our money impacts individuals, communities, the environment and the world. Some people say that how we

Money in Politics

When it comes to money in politics, what is your primary concern right now? Is there a problem with money influencing our elections and then influencing the actions of elected

Student Debt

Where or how do you see college debt affecting our economy and communities? College students leave school with more debt today than any previous generation. With the increasing costs of

The Future of Work

What role does work play in your life? For huge numbers of people jobs provide income and a sense of purpose. We are fast approaching a time when artificial intelligence

Universal Basic Income

If you knew you had a survival level of income, guaranteed, how would your life change? The idea of a Universal Basic Income (UBI) or National Guaranteed Income has been

Gender

What roles have you learned about gender from parents, school, peers, media, faith? Which do you hold true? And which do you break? What’s the big deal about gender? In

LGBTQIA+: An Affinity Group Conversation

Where do you experience tension, if any, between your LGBTQIA+ identity and other parts of your identity? How does that impact you? Being part of the LGBTQIA+ community means many

The UMC Rift: Faithfulness in Divided Times

How can we resist the temptation to “otherize” and judge each other harshly? A Special Session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church took place February 23-26, 2019

Alcohol

What guides your decision to use or abstain from alcohol? Alcohol is an important part of many cultures. Some of us enjoy drinking alcohol. Others don’t. Some of us are

Anxiety and Elections

What have you noticed about your feelings and behavior in relation to election seasons? Therapist and author Steven Stosny, in an article for Psychology Today coined the phrase “election stress

Belonging

Where do you want to feel a greater sense of belonging, yet haven’t and why? Belonging is identified as a basic human need in Maslow’s pyramid. Human beings are happier

Death and Culture

What experiences have you had with major loss or death? How has that impacted your perception of life or shifted your priorities in life? We all share a common inheritance–

Food

What is different about the way you make choices regarding food in comparison with your peers? With your family? With other generations? With other cultures? Food is life itself. Food

Gratitude

What moves you to feel gratitude? What, if anything, gets in the way of you feeling gratitude? Guns, the second amendment, and gun control are topics that often bring forth

Healthcare

How are your health care needs met? Are you happy with your healthcare? Most people need healthcare at some time in their lives. And we all want healthcare in our

Homelessness

What do you see contributing to homelessness in your community? Homelessness in America is a problem that reminds us daily of our failure to be our best. How do we

Hunger and Health

Have you ever experienced a time of food insecurity in your life? What happened? We all want to ensure that everyone in our community has access to healthy, consistently available

Mental Health, Addiction and Incarceration

How do we provide, when appropriate, alternatives to jail for mentally ill, addicted and indigent individuals? There is growing awareness and concern at the high rates (50 to 60 percent)

Mental Health for Educators

What do you wish the community understood about your work? How could others best support educators? Schools have been hit hard the past few years with COVID-19, an added complication

Being Asian American

What does being Asian mean to you? What about being American? How do those two identities relate to each other? What is the impact of having your ethnicity lumped into

Being Black in the Anti-Racist Movement

What thoughts and emotions have the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd brought up in you? What has this been like for you? The recent murders of

Being White in the Anti-Racism Movement

How do you understand the terms white fragility, white guilt, white privilege and white ally? What is it like to apply those terms to yourself? Terms like white fragility, white

Disability and Ableism

How do we better support persons with disabilities? What access needs have you seen in your community? In the United States, one in four adults have some type of disability.

Forgiveness

What are the benefits or detriments of forgiving? For yourself, for the other, for the community? The first of The Four Sacred Gifts is – Forgive the Unforgivable. Why? How?

Gangs

What is the best possible community response to growing gang membership? In the 1980s, the issue of gangs in America received a great deal of attention, with a focus on

Mental Health, Addiction and Incarceration

How do we provide, when appropriate, alternatives to jail for mentally ill, addicted and indigent individuals? There is growing awareness and concern at the high rates (50 to 60 percent)

Police-Community Relations

What interactions have you had with police? What was that like for you? What impact does that have on your expectations for possible encounters in the future? We all love

Bias

Describe a time where you felt bias was a key component of a situation or decision. What was the impact? One form of Bias is allowing your personal opinion to

Media and Polarization

How does the media impact you, your friends, and your family? Over the last 50 years, our media has shifted from major networks and newspapers to specialized sources with specific

Mental Health

Does your religion or culture, or some other aspect of your identity or background, influence how you think about mental health? If so, how? Most people agree that we want

Mental Health and Your Body

What messages around bodies have had the most influence on you? Where did they come from? We do not exist in this life without our bodies, it is our one

Mental Health for Educators

What do you wish the community understood about your work? How could others best support educators? Schools have been hit hard the past few years with COVID-19, an added complication

Mental Health for Youth

Do you find yourself caring for or being affected by the mental and emotional health of others? What does that look like and what impact does it have on you?

Mental Health, Addiction and Incarceration

How do we provide, when appropriate, alternatives to jail for mentally ill, addicted and indigent individuals? There is growing awareness and concern at the high rates (50 to 60 percent)

Climate Change

What is your experience when the conversation topic turns to climate change? It’s time to change the climate of our climate conversations by not huddling under our umbrellas with only

Guns and Responsibility

What role have guns played in your life? Guns, the second amendment, and gun control are topics that often bring forth strong passions and opinions. They are repeatedly used to

Healthy Conflict

How would you describe your go-to response to conflict? Fight, flight and freeze are classic primal responses to danger and conflict. But these are not our only options. Human relationships

Media and Polarization

How does the media impact you, your friends, and your family? Over the last 50 years, our media has shifted from major networks and newspapers to specialized sources with specific

More Curious, Less Furious

What concerns, if any, make you hesitant to express your genuine interest in the different views of another person? Many media and culture sources promote the idea that we should

Persuasion

How does it feel when friends or family try to persuade you to change your mind or take action on something? When does it feel authentic? When do you feel

Polarization

What do you see as your responsibility to hear a different side? Some polarization is a natural part of an election as a way of differentiating between political parties and

Political Peace Building

If the candidate you support didn’t win- how are you hoping to be treated? Political ads and media are fanning our anxiety about the other side and threatening the very

America We Want To Be: Founding Aspirations

What is your personal commitment to creating the America you want? When the Declaration of Independence was written, not everyone was included in the famous statement about “pursuit of Life,

American Creed

What core values do you think Americans fundamentally agree on? American political leaders of all kinds throughout history have pointed out that American identity revolves around a set of ideals

Anxiety and Elections

What have you noticed about your feelings and behavior in relation to election seasons? Therapist and author Steven Stosny, in an article for Psychology Today coined the phrase “election stress

Communitarianism and Conservatism

To what extent does your community contribute to your identity or sense of self? The idea of conservatism evokes a spectrum of ideas, values and political positions. This conversation is

Crony Capitalism

Which relationships between business and government are you most concerned about right now? Cronyism is a term describing an economy in which success in business depends on close relationships between

Democracy, Extremism, and Outliers

How do you decide what is extreme, or so outside the norm, that it’s “crazy” or “dangerous” to society? Under democratic governance structures, people enjoy freedom to believe as they

Does My Vote Really Matter?

Are you registered to vote? What led you to that decision? Voting is how we choose our leaders and pass local laws. Is voting a duty or a choice? Data

Faith in Politics

What type of influence would you like faith to have in our political system? How do we respect the rights of individuals in their pursuit of happiness and maintain a

Free Speech

How has social media impacted your views on free speech? When are limitations on free speech justified in America? With the advance of technology, it is easy to connect with

Free Speech, Fighting Words and Violence

How do we protect free speech and ensure public safety despite ongoing threats of violence? Some Americans feel violated by flag burning; some by racist rallies. As extremist groups use

Being Asian American

What does being Asian mean to you? What about being American? How do those two identities relate to each other? What is the impact of having your ethnicity lumped into

Being Black in the Anti-Racist Movement

What thoughts and emotions have the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd brought up in you? What has this been like for you? The recent murders of

Being White in the Anti-Racism Movement

How do you understand the terms white fragility, white guilt, white privilege and white ally? What is it like to apply those terms to yourself? Terms like white fragility, white

History and Society

What role do historical monuments play in sharing our history? While historical narratives are often embraced as representing the “true history,” there is growing awareness of the degree to which

Interracial Race and Ethnicity Conversation

What advantages, disadvantages, or responsibilities do White people have in fighting against racism? Black people? Other people of color? The ability to have meaningful conversations on Race and Ethnicity is

People holding up speech bubbles

Race + Ethnicity 3-Part Series

In this series of three in-depth conversations, participants explore the complexities of the concepts of Race, Ethnicity, and their impacts on people from all walks of life.

People holding up speech bubbles

Race and Ethnicity

Were conversations about race a part of your upbringing? If so, how was the subject approached? How did the people around you talk about other races? We all want to

Aging and Ageism

How have you experienced ageism? What assumptions do others make about you? What assumptions do you make about others based on their age? As soon as we are born, we

Alone – Solitude or Isolation?

What are your best experiences of being alone? Our social nature is part of our humanity. People tend to like being with other people, and most of us need good

Belonging

Where do you want to feel a greater sense of belonging, yet haven’t and why? Belonging is identified as a basic human need in Maslow’s pyramid. Human beings are happier

Conversations in Troubled Times

How has the recent news affected you? And people you love? Disruption, tragedy and conflict are part of our human story. Whether in our own backyard or internationally, deep histories

Empathy

How do you feel when someone else truly understands what you are going through? Empathy goes beyond concern or sympathy. Empathy is stepping into the shoes of another with the

Fellowship and Friendships, the Rotary 4-Way-Test

Where and how do you find friends and develop friendships? In our current environment of miscommunication, misunderstanding and mistrust, what can we learn from the Rotary International principles and approach

Holidays and Traditions

What experiences have you had sharing your traditions with others? When have others shared traditions with you? What was that like? ‘Tis the season where people start to put up

Humor

Where would you like to laugh more in your life? Humor is an ancient force for collective well-being – and in modern times often under-appreciated in its transformative power. Humor

Increasing Harmony and Prosperity

What are key characteristics of your the healthiest relationships? We are in constant relationship with each other in all aspects of our lives. In this conversation we explore the elements

Artificial Intelligence

AI has many potential uses. Which ones excite and/or concern you? Artificial Intelligence or AI has rapidly emerged as a powerful new technology. Its ability to perform tasks requiring human

Privacy and Security

How do you see the connection or disconnection between the mass surveillance and national security? With recent revelations about the extent of data collection by the government and private companies,

Technology and Relationships

How is our personal technology impacting our society? We are in an age of wonder and amazement with technology. It can go anywhere with us and we can be reachable

Mental Health for Youth

Do you find yourself caring for or being affected by the mental and emotional health of others? What does that look like and what impact does it have on you?

America We Want To Be: Founding Aspirations

What is your personal commitment to creating the America you want? When the Declaration of Independence was written, not everyone was included in the famous statement about “pursuit of Life,

Calling In and Calling Out

When do you call someone out and when do you call someone in? When do you refrain from calling someone out or in?How do you make this choice? We hear

Climate Change

What is your experience when the conversation topic turns to climate change? It’s time to change the climate of our climate conversations by not huddling under our umbrellas with only

Climate of Unity

How would you describe your relationship with or stewardship of the environment? We all want to live in a healthy environment, yet most of us make compromises to enjoy the

Communicating with Care

How much grace (or courteous goodwill) are you willing to extend in communicating with others? We may want to communicate with others in such a way that we gain knowledge

Faith Community: The Way Forward

What is the promise of our faith community to its members? To the surrounding community? Transitional times in faith communities may be accompanied by divisiveness about which changes are most

Faith in Politics

What type of influence would you like faith to have in our political system? How do we respect the rights of individuals in their pursuit of happiness and maintain a

Free Speech

How has social media impacted your views on free speech? When are limitations on free speech justified in America? With the advance of technology, it is easy to connect with

Free Speech, Fighting Words and Violence

How do we protect free speech and ensure public safety despite ongoing threats of violence? Some Americans feel violated by flag burning; some by racist rallies. As extremist groups use

Nuclear Weapons

What would you like to see the U.S. and other countries do with their nuclear weapons? Since the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, nuclear weapons have been a focal point

Abortion

Why can it be so difficult to talk about abortion? What is really at the heart of the debate? Abortion is seldom a topic that we speak about in casual

History and Society

What role do historical monuments play in sharing our history? While historical narratives are often embraced as representing the “true history,” there is growing awareness of the degree to which

Women and Political Leadership

How have you or women in your life faced challenges in accessing political power and/or holding political office? What are some of the factors involved? As of 2018, women comprise

Women and their Bodies

How has your relationship with your body changed over time? What brought on those changes? The only relationship that lasts a lifetime is the one we have with our bodies.

Women in Society

To what extent do you believe women are given the same rights, opportunities and privileges as men? What does this look like? Prior to the passing of the 19th amendment,

Women, Leadership, And Power

What obstacles to power have you experienced or witnessed? Was gender a factor? Women are increasingly sought out and encouraged to assume leadership positions in many walks of life, from

topics A-Z

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