Magenta Nation – Fakchex

Tips for Avoiding Polarization in Conversation


The following is an excerpt from the eBook, “A Consumer’s Guide to Disinformation”, a booklet which tells you how to spot disinformation, and stop its spread. It is available for free on, and you can request a copy by clicking here.

Emotions in families and communities, even marriages, may run so strong over political and social beliefs today that people avoid talking with others who may disagree with them.

It’s easy to understand why. No one likes conflict. However, there are techniques that can help to prevent polarization caused by disinformation. They won’t change anyone’s mind and are not intended to do so. However, they can open up channels of communication for discourse between human beings who can grow to respect each other as people, while recognizing that we have different beliefs.

Even with people who are firmly convinced of various forms of disinformation, these conversations can occur and begin to build bridges. Once mutual respect is established, the relationship may be safe enough to explore the sources of beliefs and information and to introduce new, fact-based information.

Here are the steps to follow for a mutually productive and calm interaction:

  1. First, pick your time. It should not be when anyone is upset, after a tirade, or during any kind of stress.
  2. Be curious, not instructive or critical. Broach open ended questions. “If you’re open to it, I am really curious about what you think of xxx.”
  3. Listen. Paraphrase what you have heard the other person say to make sure you understood. “You seem to care very deeply about climate change.” “You are concerned about where young people in this country may be headed.”
  4. Ask for more. “Tell me more about your thinking.“ “Is your concern based on something that happened to you or in your life,” “I’d like to know more.”
  5. If at any point the interaction becomes contentious or defensive, call a halt. “I really appreciate what you shared. Maybe we can talk about this again some other time.”
  6. If the other person has shared, and you’ve validated and heard them, ask them if they are comfortable hearing some of your thoughts. Speak in “I” statements. Speak from your personal experience.
  7. Do not speak in generalities about “You people” or be condemnatory, “I cannot understand how anyone could think that.”
  8. Keep in mind, at all times, that you are not trying to get the other person to change their mind. You are sharing your perspectives, not convincing or coming to agreement.
  9. If the conversation goes well, at an appropriate moment you can end it by thanking the other person, and suggesting if they are open to it, you could talk again some time.
  10. Do not attempt these conversations online. It’s important to be face to face, so that you can hear context and interpret body language.

Thank you for reading this Fakchex article. Please share this article and join us in the fight to combat disinformation.



Fakchex presents short, fact-based articles and videos on topics about which there is considerable disinformation. It is the only grassroots communication program that helps people personally combat disinformation. Fakchex articles are designed for sharing with people who care about these topics, but may not be aware of the facts OR may not have time to research them on their own. Together, we can combat the powerful forces of disinformation that prevent us from coming together to realistically address our problems and opportunities.

This is a FREE program, open to all.

Subscribe to receive Fakchex articles at:
See videos here: