Go to the Edges of Your Life

Jan 19

Go to the Edges of Your Life

CAN YOU REALLY GET A DOZEN PEOPLE OF DIFFERENT ETHNICITIES, OCCUPATIONS, GENDERS, ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL STATUS, health, travel experience, political and religious persuasions, and nationalities to sit down and talk to each other about the most sensitive and volatile topics of our time….without drawing blood?

I promise you that you can!  Whether you are new to conversation salons, or have attended a Saturday Salon in your area for a while, and would like to know how to host your own, I’ll be posting hosting tips each Saturday that will help you bring people together and have them actually listen to each other.  After ten years of doing this, I learned some simple lessons about human nature and I love sharing them with people who want to recreate the same magic in their own living rooms.

There are many important elements, but one of them is Hosting Tip #3:  “Go the the Edges of Your Life!”  When you are forming your guest list, think of not just your friends or family members  you know will come if you invite them.  Definitely you want some of them.  But also invite people you don’t know well.  Invite people you know have political or religious opinions very different from your own.

Be really brave and invite people you think might say no!  It is easy to throw together a bunch of friends who pretty much agree with each other, and have similar socioeconomic backgrounds.  Friends from church?  Easy.  Neighbors you get along with?  Easy.  Your boss?  Your employee?  Maybe not as comfortable.  The woman at the gas station you buy your lottery ticket from?  Maybe not sure.  That distant cousin who defended President Bush’s policies in Iraq and the death penalty at the family Thanksgiving feast last year?  The cousin who lives on a commune in Oregon?  Yikes!

The only way we’re going to reach greater understanding, and find common purpose, if not common ground, with each other, is to start talking with people we don’t normally make time or opportunity to talk to.

Unless we take the time to really listen to each other, we’ll also never get out of our own narrow field of vision.  We might be wrong. (Although, of course, I never am…)

Besides, it’s FUN!  You never know what might happen with a mix like that.  And I’m all about keeping life fun, even when pursuing the most serious of endeavors.  So…start making that guest list today…more with what to do with it when we cover Hosting Tip #4 next Saturday!  See you then!



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