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We all want to be treated with respect. Respect itself is foundational to Living Room Conversations as our second conversation agreement: “Show respect and suspend judgment”. The desire or expectation for respect goes well beyond our conversational model and can be found in most religions and cultures as some variation of the Golden Rule– treat others as you would like others to treat you. When we extend respect we signal that we see the other person, are open to the complexity that person represents, and we create a better environment to live or work in. This conversation guide is an opportunity to talk about respect– how you extend or receive it, where you feel its lack, and how that impacts all our lives.
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?
Respect (~40 min)
Take ~2 minutes each to answer a question below without interruption or crosstalk. After everyone has answered, the group may take a few minutes for clarifying or follow up questions/responses. Continue exploring additional questions as time allows..
- How would you define respect and how do you experience it?
- Who in your life makes you feel respected? How does that affect you?
- Describe a time where you felt a lack of respect. What was the impact?
- Do you generally treat people with respect? Any exceptions? What motivates your actions?
- How, in your opinion, is the best way to respect someone?
- Where do you see respectful engagement in your community or this country? Where do you see a lack of respect?
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?
- Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation?