conversation is an engine

A lot can happen in a conversation

I completely disagree. Are we still friends?

with 5 comments

How a small group helps you listen better

Say you are in a small group. Maybe you are part of a knitting guild. Maybe a book club. Maybe you meet every two weeks to study ancient texts together.

Your group comes together for some specific purpose, but along the way you make friends with these people. Sometimes these people agree with your opinion. Sometimes they disagree. But you listen to them anyway—even when you disagree. They listen/you listen because of friendship.

Tell me: how do you see it?

Tell me: how do you see it?

A few days back I wrote about a group we are part of where membership is shrinking. The take-away was that it only takes one or two people to have a conversation that is stimulating and even eye-opening, and possibly life-changing (if only incrementally). This has to do with the mechanism of hearing opinions and insights that are different from mine and stopping to consider them—because of friendship. Hearing from others is a beginning step away from the echo chambers we increasingly build for ourselves with media that says only what we want to hear.

Making friends who think and believe differently seems like a good idea. And engaging them in conversation about stuff that matters—that seems like a really good idea.

I wish we had a will to do more of that.


Image credit: Kirk Livingston

5 Responses

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  1. Agree to disagree. Small groups can be immensely enriching when we all listen to understand. Great posts about the value of community, large and small.

    Sand Salt Moon

    May 12, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    • Thanks for your comment. We also find that small groups can be greatly enriching.


      May 12, 2015 at 4:23 pm

  2. Reblogged this on Rose with Thorns and commented:
    At work today, I told my friends that it is helpful that we can disagree and be ok with each other. That is part of what I love about my job. This is such a great post. Maybe it is because there are few employees that I am able to be fine with being upset with someone else for a short period.


    May 13, 2015 at 12:03 am

  3. I believe that the value of groups is generally misunderstood and undervalued in today’s society. You noted, “They listen/you listen because of friendship.” Although friendship might be part of the equation, it doesn’t need to be. I propose that the core to listening relates back to “respect.” When you respect an individual, you’re more likely to listen to them, whether they agree of disagree with you thoughts.

    Rod Johnson

    May 14, 2015 at 9:19 am

    • Rod: great comments. I agree that friendship need not be part of it. It’s just an extra bonus when it is. I like pinning it on “respect” and I think you are right. But how to come by that respect and why does it seem so lacking in many discussions today?


      May 14, 2015 at 9:24 am

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