People have told us they're using our sisterly banter to start conversations with others (family, friends, and even in classrooms), so Black created "Conversation Starters". Stay tuned as we'll be introducing new topics on a regular basis!
There's so much discussion
right now about trying to change people's minds about getting vaccinated, but
I'm not sure how you change people's minds about anything. Growing up, and actually up until my crisis
when you forced me to do otherwise, my preference and tendency have always been
to avoid conflict. And most of the time, I can still do
But I'm curious, since you're the debate queen, how do you change people's minds? I suppose you're going to tell me it takes having all your facts and figures ready, that no one wants to hear all the warm and fuzzy "logic". And, as the saying goes from the 1950s TV show Dragnet, "Just the facts, ma'am."
|Ironically, the key to changing someone's mind may
be closer to your natural tendencies than you realize. First, I think we can agree that telling someone
how wrong they currently are (or right you are) does not work, unless you want
a debate – not a productive conversation.
But contrary to what you think I am going to suggest, I know that facts and figures can be intimidating and boring for most people. (I know it makes your eyes glaze over.) They are important, but not as important as meeting people where they are. Find something on which you agree versus being on opposing sides, and go from there. Try to understand WHY they see things differently from you and explain your position and why – but not by reciting facts. It may be how the issue is framed, or maybe not everything relevant was taken into consideration. Not surprisingly, this approach uses the same tactics that many successful salespeople use. Combine that with the fact (pun intended) that we are a story-telling society, and it becomes obvious that to changes someone's mind, you also have to touch them on an emotional level.
THE CONVERSATION STARTERS
- Have you ever tried to change someone's mind? How did you approach it? Did it work?
- Has anyone ever tried to make you change your mind? How did they approach it? Did it work? Why or why not?
- What do you think of Black's approach to first find common ground? Is there's always common ground? If not, what can you do?
- When trying to change someone's mind, do you think about WHY they believe what they do? Do you ask them to explain their position? Or, do you start out stating your position in an attempt to change their mind?
|Based on the "hints" in your Ghosting post, it sounds like your recent "romance" wasn't quite a Lady GaGa "bad romance", but, well, a frustrating one.|
|Interesting comparison, as years ago Gaga revealed that she is drawn to bad romances, but is not sure if she goes after them or they find her. Regardless, my "relationship" ended in the dating stage and never really became a romance. Either when I dated him almost 30 years ago, or recently. Although, this time, I thought it had potential.|
|I was amazed that you were even willing to "rekindle" the relationship as you're not exactly a believer in "recycling" relationships, as I think you once phrased it. In fact, I thought you were pretty adamant about the concept of not repeating your mistakes.|
|True, you should learn from your mistakes, not repeat them. But with most things in life, timing is everything. And, just because someone is not "Mr. Right Now" does not preclude them from being "Mr. Right" at another time in your life.|
|That sounds good, but neither time did you date very long. Maybe there's a reason for that. A reason why you should've left the past in the past.|
|It is funny you say that because that was my first thought. Then, I thought about where each of us was in our lives at that time. I was still climbing the corporate ladder and was not interested in ever having children. He was building his business and had young children. However, what made us incompatible back then was no longer applicable.|
|That all makes sense. But, at the risk of making you sound warm and fuzzy, you have described him in glowing terms – very intelligent, caring parent (and now grandparent), loyal friend to many people, and all-around nice guy.|
|And, we both collect art, enjoy fine red wine, and have similar tastes in restaurants and hotels. Not to mention being almost thirty years older and looking at life from a different perspective.|
|You sound totally compatible. Which, as you've told me over the years, is critical to a successful relationship, especially when all the "lovey-dovey" romance gives way to day-to-day reality.|
|I think that may be where we disconnected. We each need to have realistic expectations, and then decide if we are compatible. He may have decided that he wanted someone more romantic, and less pragmatic; therefore, I was not a good fit. Which I would have accepted. But, instead of telling me that, he went radio silent.|
|I'm not condoning his behavior, but I can understand it. Speaking as a "mere mortal", I can see why he might want to avoid having such an uncomfortable and difficult conversation with you. Especially if he's ever seen the "debate queen" side of you. But this isn't the first time he dated you. Doesn't he know you're a Vulcan?|
|Intellectually, he knew that I am not a physically demonstrative person, especially in public. Nor do I immediately get carried away with the idea of "being in love".|
|Excuse me? This from the woman who I used to say got engaged instead of dating?|
|Fast-forwarding past the "games" and "infatuation stage" of dating to see if a relationship has long-term potential is very different from thinking infatuation is true love.|
|Don't you know most people, if they like someone, want to jump in quickly and enjoy getting "carried up in the moment"?|
|That is fine, as long as they know that infatuation is only infatuation. It may be the beginning of a long-term relationship, or the spark may die. Unfortunately, it may result in a dating process that eliminates those who have the potential to be a lasting relationship, instead focusing on those who want to get carried up in the moment.|
|I'm almost afraid to ask, are you talking about someone in particular?|
|Sometimes you wonder why, in their determination (and rush) to find a lasting relationship with one person, they cannot see everything that has made them lifelong friends to so many people took time.|
|You didn't answer my question, but if you are – maybe you should remind them of that.|
|Maybe I will send them this post.|
It's hard not to have an opinion about this year's Olympics, but can we all agree that the athletes represent strength, perseverance, and hope?
BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: The Olympics is the world's largest sporting event, and although it seems that history occurs both on and off the "field", it's safe to say that the Olympics means very different things to different people (especially us).
When Red was growing up, she looked forward to the Olympics for years as both the summer and winter Olympics Games were held in the same year every four years (it wasn't until 1994 that they started to alternate every two years), so the anticipation and excitement would build until the games finally began,
I can remember it as if it was yesterday, sitting in the rocking chair in our family room covered in a blanket (even in summer) when the iconic Olympic theme would come on. Even now, when I hear it, it immediately takes me back to those days when I'd be glued, for weeks on end, to the TV. And though I loved the Winter Games more (between the figure skating and the skiing, I'm not sure I slept much), ironically, one of my most vivid Olympic memories is watching Nadia Comaneci getting the first perfect score in gymnastics (on the uneven parallel bars) in 1976 in Montreal. It was so amazing that even the electronic scoreboard wasn't programmed for perfection!
Black vaguely remembers watching the Olympics, and except for watching the U. S. men's hockey team, was more likely to have watched replays of key segments than entire competitions. (And that was pre-internet days.) However, she's always been fascinated with the business side of the Olympics (of course),
Even before the fiasco of the 2020 Summer Olympics (the fact it is being held a year late and without spectators says it all), the Olympics have not made economic sense in decades. And, although the broadcast rights account for the lion's share of the Olympic revenues, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) locks those in, while the host cities spend billions. Usually ending up in debt and with "white elephants" – expensive facilities with limited (or no) post-Olympics use.
And, what about this year? It was deemed a financial bust for Japan even before the opening ceremonies (great photos), which had the lowest viewership for the summer Olympics ever. Red didn't even watch them, but Black did watch them (after the fact) as she was interested in the technological feat of almost two thousand synchronized drones, recognizing that technology (including robots) has become a significant part of the Olympics. And, in an attempt to try and attract younger viewers, they're introducing (or re-introducing) six new sports.
Yet, we continue to care about the stories of the Olympics. About the athletes. About the triumph of achievement, perseverance, and commitment. About achieving dreams despite all the challenges. So, will the Olympics still be around in the decades ahead? Well, no one has the answer to that question. Although Red would like to think that the answer lies in one of her favorite movies,
I can't help but think of "Chariots of Fire," which, although I love its memorable theme song by Vangelis, touched me then, and still does … because it's about two athletes who competed for more than themselves, and against odds that had nothing to do with their athletic ability.
The "space race" used to be about countries competing … now, it's billionaires.
BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: We grew up in the 1960s when space exploration was in its infancy and space travel was left to the imagination of television show and movie writers; but since one of us was a theater major and the other studied business, it's not surprising we had very different reactions to the recent flights.
Black expected Red's reaction would be filled with television and movie references (she could only think of Star Trek and the opening phrase "Space, the final frontier," and The Jetsons) so was surprised when Red explained that it wasn't so much what was happening, as who was doing it.
Red remembers when she first heard of Richard Branson (well before being knighted, earning the title "Sir"). It was in 1979 (wow, that's over 40 years ago) on her first trip to England (to visit Black, who was at London Business School) when she went to the original Virgin Megastore down by Marble Arch shortly after it opened. Over the years, Red's connection to England continued (including a college semester, marrying a Brit, and living there for, on and off, for several years), so she couldn't help but read about Richard Branson as he was such a flamboyant personality and often in the news. Especially for his travel-focused "adventures" – such as founding Virgin Atlantic airline, being a daredevil in a hot air balloon, and breaking the speed record for crossing the Atlantic.
So, when Red heard that Sir Richard Branson (and then Jeff Bezos) was going up into space, she wasn't surprised but was certainly very interested in watching,
Let's face it. When an astronaut goes up into space, there's a certain level of excitement, even if you're not a "space geek". For me, watching the billionaires go up includes a certain element of "OMG, they're well-known people who have a lot to lose if something goes wrong." Of course, you don't want anything to go wrong, but for some reason, the element of danger and what's actually happening becomes more real when there's a very public face attached to it.
Black, on the other hand, was more interested in the business side of space, not only tourism but how these flights renewed interest in space (and you can't ignore NASA and government contracts). Of course, Bezos shared his belief that space could be the answer to how to save the earth, something he touted as far back as his 1982 high school valedictorian speech. And, Black was intrigued that his aircraft, a more traditional rocket and space capsule, was so different from Branson's "space airplane".
Also, having watched the two flights on their respective websites, Black couldn't help but be entertained by all the "marketing" each company mixed in with the science and excitement. And later, was amused when Bezos thanked Amazon customers and employees for helping to make the flight possible, although she had to wonder if he genuinely meant it or if it was written by a clever marketing executive to offset some of Amazon's "people problems".
Red couldn't help but remember that comment when she got an Amazon delivery later that day, although she knew her new cereal bowls didn't contribute much. But that wasn't what she shared with Black, but rather how she'd never compared Jeff Bezos and her sister until,
During the press conference after the flight, when a reporter asked Bezos if he'll be flying again soon, his response was something that I'd absolutely expect you to say … "Hell, yes. How fast can you refuel that thing?"