#ExpandMyBubble at the top of a circle with red, blue, white, and purple overlapping bubbles of various sizes underneath.

Take the #ExpandMyBubble Challenge

Invite a friend, family member, neighbor, or other community member to join you in taking the #ExpandMyBubble challenge. The challenge is to talk about a topic where you have differing perspectives with the goal of understanding each other better. The goal is not about winning an argument or changing minds, simply seeking understanding. Agree to follow these guidelines (more detail below):

  • Listen deeply to understand.
  • Be curious, humble, and open-minded.
  • Celebrate shared values!
  • Stay respectful and civil.
  • Have fun connecting!

Continue the conversation on social media by sharing something you learned or took away from the experience while respecting the confidentiality and privacy of the person you talked with. Would you take this challenge again? Why or why not? 

Consider including a picture of you and your conversation partner. Be sure to add the #ExpandMyBubble tag to your post.


Tips to #ExpandMyBubble

Do you find it challenging to have conversations on important topics with friends, family members, or other people who hold strong opinions that differ from yours? Here are some tips for how to have these conversations and some resources with more information.

Listen deeply to understand.  

Seek to understand the person you are talking with. You can confirm your understanding by using an active listening technique:

  • Restate what they said
  • Ask if you got it correct and whether you missed anything

Be curious, humble, and open-minded.

Instead of approaching with a mindset of “I’m right and you’re wrong,” set aside the need to be correct during the conversation. Ask questions from a place of respectful curiosity, such as:

  • What experiences led you to your belief?
  • Which of your values are supported by your position?
  • Why is your view important to you?

Celebrate shared values!

Look for moments and places of common agreement, no matter how small. These are great places to build and link to your own values. Finding points in common helps to counter the polarizing belief that we are so different from each other.

Stay respectful and civil.

When discussing topics that we care about deeply, we can be sensitive and take statements personally. You and your conversation partner are demonstrating great courage simply by talking. Being respectful and civil to each other, acknowledges this shared bravery which demonstrates your willingness to keep one another safe during the discussion.

Speak from your own truth and perspective by using “I feel ___ because ____” or “For me, _____” statements to share your own experiences and feelings.

Have fun connecting!

Enjoy these conversations! You have an opportunity to learn something new and interesting about someone else, and you have a chance to be really heard and understood by someone. It can be deeply fulfilling and enriching to connect with someone who has a different perspective than your own.


Common Roadblock

Ways to Navigate

“I don’t know how to start a conversation.” Let the person you’re interested in talking with know that you’d like to discuss the topic with them. Ask if they’re interested in having a conversation.

Invite them to join you at a time convenient to you both, at a place that is comfortable and appropriate.  Be gracious if they say no.  Then try again by asking someone else.

“I will never change my mind or theirs so why bother talking?” Go in with the goal to seek understanding and learn about another perspective.  Do not try to “win”, convince, or change one another’s  minds. Be open to expanding your perspective.
“How could any rational/caring person possibly hold such an outrageous view?” Gently ask the person how they came to their perspective, why their view is important to them, or which of their values is reflected in their position.  Be humble and open to expanding your own perspective.
“We were talking and then I got so angry / upset / frustrated!” Discussions can get emotional.  You can preserve the relationship and show respect, goodwill, and kindness by taking a break.

Try taking a few breaths to collect yourself. It’s also okay to step away and either try again another time or agree to set that particular topic aside for good.