‘Leave the contempt behind’: Ways to repair relationships during deeply divided times

Approach a conversation with curiosity

Ways to repair relationships during deeply divided times
Ways to repair relationships during deeply divided times

DETROIT – For many people, the political climate in America has created deep divides between coworkers, friends, and even family.

Long-time relationships have been damaged. But there are some strategies to begin repairing those relationships.

The tragedy is to lose relationships with friends and family over politics that has divided us more deeply than at any other time in the last half-century. Those relationships can get pushed aside by a powerful new force in our lives during the wedge between us -- the internet.

Dr. Linda Ulrich said it’s in our DNA to be tuned into danger and the people who manipulate social media use that to turn people against each other.

Step one in repairing those damaged relationships is remembering why we forged those bonds in the first place. Ulrich said we need to talk to each other with genuine curiosity about what the other person believes and why.

“When we get curious, we can leave the contempt behind because that’s what we’re starting with,” Ulrich said. “No judgement, shame, or blame. You’re just curious.”

Always remember that your words have the power to cause a lot of damage.

“The internet has driven us to think there are no consequences to us grinding someone’s dignity into the dirt. But there are consequences and we’re all responsible for finding a way forward together,” Ulrich said.

Remember the real value in life is in the relationships we have with the people around us.

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About the Author:

You can watch Steve weekends as anchor of Local 4 News at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. and reporting throughout the week. Steve is a veteran journalist who has worked at Local 4 since 1995.