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Tips for Starting a Conversation

Where do I begin?

Sometimes, starting a conversation can be the biggest hurdle to having one. Here are four ways to do it.

Start it yourself

Make a neutral comment about an issue, for instance: “It feels like people are all over the map with how they’re handling COVID right now.” Wait for the other person to respond with their view.

Ask a question

Start with a relatively neutral question like, “What do you make of this recent increase in COVID cases?”

When they go first

Acknowledge what the person said and respond with some version of “I hear you on….” or “I get that this is important to you.” Genuinely listen to them. When people feel heard, they are less likely to respond negatively.

Find common ground

Start by acknowledging something you both agree on, for instance “I feel like COVID really took a toll on both of us.” Finding common ground softens people for challenging conversations.