More Curious, Less Furious
Many media and culture sources promote the idea that we should view those who disagree with us as enemies. This approach limits our ability to solve the major problems of our day. Research shows that curiosity which seeks multiple perspectives can open the mind, increase empathy, reduce fears, encourage self-awareness and promote humility. Curiosity about how and why other people arrive at values and beliefs can lead to better solutions, understanding and appreciation. Life experiences shape who we are, and sharing stories can help bridge gaps and encourage mutual respect. We can make a choice to become more curious and less furious. In this conversation we will share thoughts and experiences about choosing to be curious.
Let's Get Started!
Living Room Conversations offers a simple, sociable and structured way to practice communicating across differences while building understanding and relationships. Typically, 4-6 people meet in person or by video call for about 90 minutes to listen to and be heard by others on one of our nearly 100 topics. Rather than debating or convincing others, we take turns talking to share, learn, and be curious. No preparation is required, though background links with balanced views are available on some topic pages online. Anyone can host using these italicized instructions. Hosts also participate.
Why We're Here (~10 min)
Share your name, where you live, what drew you here, and if this is your first conversation.
How We'll Engage (~5 min)
These will set the tone of our conversation; participants may volunteer to take turns reading them aloud. (Click here for the full conversation agreements.)
- Be curious and listen to understand.
- Show respect and suspend judgment.
- Note any common ground as well as any differences.
- Be authentic and welcome that from others.
- Be purposeful and to the point.
- Own and guide the conversation.
What We’ll Talk About
Optional: a participant can keep track of time and gently let people know when their time has elapsed.
Getting to Know Each Other (~10 min)
Each participant can take 1-2 minutes to answer one of these questions:
- What are your hopes and concerns for your family, community and/or the country?
- What would your best friend say about who you are?
- What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?
More Curious, Less Furious (~40 min)
One participant can volunteer to read the paragraph at the top of the web page.
Take ~2 minutes each to answer a question below without interruption or crosstalk.
- How would you rate your curiosity from one to ten? What impact has curiosity had on you?
- What concerns, if any, make you hesitant to express your genuine interest in the different views of another person?
- How has your life been enriched because you asked another person how they came to hold an opposing viewpoint? What happened?
- How do you project your genuine desire to listen and learn rather than debate or judge?
- What assumptions do people make about you or your life? What expressions of curiosity would you welcome?
Reflecting on the Conversation (~15 min)
Take 2 minutes to answer one of the following questions:
- What was most meaningful / valuable to you in this Living Room Conversation?
- What learning, new understanding or common ground was found on the topic?
- How has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group, including yourself?
- Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?