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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Food and Real Conversation

Taylor Berry

Taylor Berry

Taylor Berry

A few week ago, fellows and our guest came together for food and conversation. The beautiful thing about these discussions was that there was never a dull moment or awkward pause. Whether it was the simple fact that people felt comfortable to speak about what was on their minds, or wanted to sit back and listen, everyone enjoyed the company of one another.

Topics veered from sharing crazy family holiday stories, to school, post graduation and more.  However, while I was sitting there soaking in the moment, a smile came to my face as I looked  around and saw a refreshing sight: people having difficult conversations about life without fear of being judged or harassed.

There was a shared sense of peace that I gauged from the people in my group who were relieved to find that they weren’t the only ones struggling to make sense of what was going around them in their day to day lives and in the world in general.  

Mind you, there different opinions voiced but when asked to clarify or explain why an individual's opinions it was out of interest to gain a better understand compared to attacking the person for having a different view.  

This dialogue was great because it allowed for people to see that they shared more similarities than differences. We may not have known one another walking into the dinner but once we shed all our layers and were willing to be vulnerable to talk and truly listen we all jumped at an opportunity to speak freely.

I think this dinner is a great example of the power created by genuine discussion. There were no agendas, there was no struggle to talk over another. Rather, there were a group of strangers sharing ideas on everyday issues that are not always talked about when you're with some of their friends.

Our experience demonstrates that taking a risk and having a conversation with the person next to you in line at the store, or implementing a no phone rule at dinner when you're with your friends or family could be beneficial. Having real conversations are easier than one may think if the right environment is created.

Dec 6, 2017

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