Mental Prep for Humanizing Discussions

This project is intentionally designed for you to control who you reach out to. If you post something with an open invitation for 1:1 responses, who knows what you’ll get?  Instead pick a few people that you actually want to talk to.  

Think of what brought this person into your life. How did you meet to become friends?

Its a discussion, not a debate. Close your initial thoughts with “What do you think?”

Think of this as time to get to know someone better. Hey, maybe you’ll learn something.

Acknowledge where you agree. Acknowledge what you understand

If it makes sense, toss in a personal question. (“Hey I saw you got a new dog!  How’s that going?”)

Try to understand before you try to make yourself understood. Extra credit if you can be brief and open to allowing another person to share how they feel.

Try to find why a particular stance is important to that person on a personal level. (See suggested questions in toolbox below.)

You don’t have to have the last word.  Period. 



Getting through these conversations can be tough.  Here are some ideas to navigate opening the discussion and keeping it on track



I'm trying something new where I respond to people's facebook posts via direct message rather than comment.  I wanted to share my thoughts to your post about ________.  This is part of a social media campaign called Project THUMPER aimed to slow divisive rhetoric by promoting 1:1 conversation.  (Check out for info.)  Are you open to this?

Response to a Long Message

It’s clear you are really passionate about this and there is a lot to discuss.  How did you start getting interested in this topic?  For me, what’s most important is _____.

Discussion Getting Too Broad

You bring up a lot of important issues and I'm not sure we can get into all of them right now!  I'd love to make progress on what we were discussing or perhaps we've hit a wall and that's ok.  I really appreciate you taking time to connect.

Addressing a Separate Divisive Issue

I'm not sure its productive to get into a full discussion about _______, but I appreciate your passion and multifaceted approach.

Make it Personal Because You Care

Why is that important to you?


I'm glad we started this conversation.  If you feel like this was productive I hope you continue this with others.  Please check out


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