Why Difficult Conversations Can Be a Good Thing | NAAEE
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Why Difficult Conversations Can Be a Good Thing

This article, based on research done at the aptly named "Difficult Conversations Lab" at Columbia University, suggests that structured engagement with someone who holds divergent views can be transformative, even without a concrete resolution.

The research involved one-on-one conversations, but its findings may be illuminating for group discussions, as well.

With difficult conversations, people often resort to domination, giving in, or walking away. But when those conversations are constructive—where participants have the opportunity to learn about themselves, each other, and the dispute itself—they help us understand each other’s views even if we don’t agree. One key insight: how an issue is framed matters. Issues framed as two-sided are more likely to cause arguments than constructive, exploratory dialogues.

From the article: "With difficult conversations, people often resort to domination, giving in, or walking away. But when those conversations are constructive—where participants have the opportunity to learn about themselves, each other, and the dispute itself—they help us understand each other’s views even if we don’t agree."