Holiday Table Positives: Conversation Hints

Holiday celebrations are approaching, and with them comes opportunities for conversations.  From Uber drivers to that relative, you may have a chance to counter disinformation.  However, psychologist George Lakoff has documented that just sharing opposite facts does not persuade people that they do not have their facts correct. Instead, it makes them hold tighter to their opinion.  Here’s how to do it so that they can hear you.

How do you engage in a conversation that respects your relationship and emphasizes the truth?

  1. First, listen carefully to understand the underlying emotion and find common ground.  What is this person really upset about?  
  2. Then, frame the issue carefully, keep it simple, and appeal to common values.
  3. Deliver a “Truth Sandwich.” 

What is a Truth Sandwich?

It’s a way of communicating, either in person or on social media, that avoids spreading the lie and tries to inoculate the liar from more disinformation.  

  • Never repeat the lie.
  • Draw attention to the motives behind the lie – why do they want you to think that?
  • Draw attention to common values.

This takes a little practice, but you will find that even just an attempt at this method of communication will leave both parties feeling like they were heard.  


“Students are lazy and just want handouts to pay off their loans.”

  1. Truth/Common Ground–  We all want to be able to pay our debts and provide for our families. 
  2. Plant Seeds of Doubt -It’s so terrible that young people were taken advantage of when they took these loans and later, too, when applications for relief were tricky on purpose.”
  3. Truth/Proactive and Positive– I am so glad our government is fixing its mistakes and helping people get the help they deserve.
Helpful Hint: 

Are you on Social Media?  You can help stop the spread of lies by following these few tips!

The most important action is to smother the lie: No reactions and no sharing! Even angry reactions promote the post, and people remember the lie, not the rebuttal!