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upworthy
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These 5 steps can help you through tough discussions. Let's use climate change as an example.

You can apply these conversation techniques to anything really.

It's worth considering the perspective of real people who don't believe in climate change.

The easiest thing to do is to dismiss a denier as a stupid or bad person. The second-easiest thing is to get angry and make it your personal mission to drown that stupid, bad person with facts.


The hard thing to do is to try to "get" them. But it's also the best way to actually change someone's mind.

There are lots of factual counterarguments out there, and you've probably heard most of them. But a point-for-point debate is only going to entrench each side in its own positions. It's well documented that facts don't change minds.

The possibility of being wrong is inherently threatening. We think of it as weakness instead of an opportunity for growth.

Humans are emotional creatures, and as such, we cannot make fully rational decisions. There is always a spritzing of emotion.

There is oh-so-much science that supports the idea that decisions are just as emotional as they are logical. As much as we'd like to think we evaluate facts objectively, we just don't. If information doesn't fit with our understanding of the world, it gets "stuck," and we're more likely to reject it.

If we can't rely on a critical, objective discussion of the facts, how do we talk about climate change?

Here's what Jim Camp, a professional negotiator, says about changing someone's mind:

"You don't tell your opponent what to think or what's best. You help them discover for themselves what feels right and best and most advantageous to them. Their ultimate decision is based on self-interest. That's emotional. I want this. This is good for me and my side."

1. Figure out where they're coming from.

What's keeping them from hearing you? Are they afraid of something? Do they distrust the source? Did they come into the conversation angry? Ask clarifying questions until you have some idea of what motivates their ideas on climate change. This will give you a good starting point.

2. Build a rapport.

Give them the benefit of the doubt. Believe that they're a good, honest, sincere person who just disagrees with you. Let them know that you're on the same team with the same goal — maintaining a healthy Earth with sustainable solutions — but that you just might disagree on how to get there. Bonus points if you can find something you both agree on, even if it's something really small.

3. Set a small goal.

Resist the urge to win all the battles in one conversation. Pick something achievable based on where they already are. Maybe they aren't ready to admit the planet needs alternative energy, but they might be able to admit their pocketbook does. If you're successful in moving the needle just a little bit, that's a win!

4. Keep it focused and civil.

Every topic is complicated. It's easy to get sucked down a tangential rabbit hole or to get angry and start mudslinging. You have to decide: Do you want to defeat an enemy or do you want to gain an ally? Don't get distracted by off-hand comments, ad hominem attacks, or a vaguely snide remark.

5. Know when to walk away.

Hopefully, after all that, you'll have made enough of a connection to change a mind. If you achieved your small goal, hang up your hat and debate the next small point another day. You're officially a part of the empathetic debater club (you're going to love our clubhouse — it's so chill).

But you know what? Sometimes it doesn't work. Maybe they were never interested in having a conversation. Maybe they're too emotional. Maybe they're unwilling to converse with kindness. Whatever the obstacle is, don't let yourself be so invested in the debate that you can't wash your hands of it and walk away. It's OK if today was not the day or if you were not the person. Just by being cool as a cucumber, you've made it easier for that person to view the "enemy" as less of a big, bad monster — and that's a win too!

Changing people's minds about climate change is not about being clever, it's about getting them to join our team.

Democracy

This Map Reveals The True Value Of $100 In Each State

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Image by Tax Foundation.

Map represents the value of 100 dollars.

As the cost of living in large cities continues to rise, more and more people are realizing that the value of a dollar in the United States is a very relative concept. For decades, cost of living indices have sought to address and benchmark the inconsistencies in what money will buy, but they are often so specific as to prevent a holistic picture or the ability to "browse" the data based on geographic location.

The Tax Foundation addressed many of these shortcomings using the most recent (2015) Bureau of Economic Analysis data to provide a familiar map of the United States overlaid with the relative value of what $100 is "worth" in each state. Granted, going state-by-state still introduces a fair amount of "smoothing" into the process — $100 will go farther in Los Angeles than in Fresno, for instance — but it does provide insight into where the value lies.

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Health

People admit the one thing that Boomers really got right and some folks are uncomfortable

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An overarching Baby Boomer stereotype is that they have a problem with the younger generations, especially Millennials because they were coddled growing up and lack the determination to do hard things.

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Some may even attribute this to the increase in mental illness.

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Squatters' rights laws are some of the most bizarrely misused legal realities we have, and something no one seems to have a good answer for. Most of us have heard stories of someone moving into a vacant home and just living there, without anyone's permission and without paying rent, and somehow this is a legal question mark until the courts sort it out.

According to The National Desk, squatters' rights are a carryover from British property law and were created to ensure that abandoned property could be used and to protect occupants from being kicked out without proper notice. It should go without saying that squatter law isn't meant to allow someone to just take over someone else's property, but sometimes that's exactly what happens.

It's what happend to Flash Shelton's mother when she put her house up for rent after her husband passed away. A woman contacted her with interest in the property, only she wanted to do repairs and look after the home instead of paying rent. Before anyone knew it, she had furniture delivered (which she later said was accidental) and set up camp, despite Shelton's mom not agreeing to the arrangement.

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Family

Millennial mom charges her 3 young children rent, sparking debate among parents

Her goal is teach her children how to budget and pay bills “in a safe environment.”

Representative Image From Canva

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Back in May of 2023, a Texas couple sparked a huge parental debate after saying that they charged their 19-year-old daughter rent after she graduated high school. While some thought it taught responsibility, others felt like they were merely adding another arbitrary obstacle for their child.

Now, if this was the response to a 19-year-old getting charged rent, imagine how folks might feel to hear about it happening to kids under 13.

In a viral TikTok, mom and personal finance influencer Samantha Bird shared that she charged her three elementary school-aged children rent and utilities each month. This method might seem unconventional, but Bird argues that it’s simply a way to learn about money “in a safe environment.”

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via Dorilee and Sean Lavin (used with permission)

Sean and Dorilee Lavin feel complete.

Dorilee Lavin, 39, was a divorced mother of 3 living in Vermont. When she was ready to find her next relationship, she made a list of characteristics she wanted in her next husband. “I manifested him hard,” Dorilee, 39, told Today.com.

Three days later, she saw a tall, dark-haired man named Sean walking his 2 daughters to school and hoped he was single. “It was the sweetest thing ever, like an image you’d see in a magazine,” she recalled. "They had such a happy energy."

After some research, she discovered that he was single, too. Unfortunately, their paths didn’t cross and the school year was nearing its end. "I never got the chance to connect with him, but the [after-school care] was tired of hearing me talk about him to them," she confessed in a TikTok video with over 1.7 million views.

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Traditional calculator and smartphone calculator give different answers

Some people see math and automatically turn off their brains while others can't wait to figure out the problem presented. Math can be anxiety producing for some people but this random discovery of two calculators coming up with different answers to the same problem have people intrigued.

Spellbinding Odyssey shared a short video on X showing someone using a regular Casio calculator you can pick up at any store and the calculator that comes standard on a cellphone. The person in the video enters a simple equation on the cellphone calculator, 50+50x2. Instantaneously, the cellphone calculator displays the answer as 150. It doesn't take a mathematician to second guess that answer though many people might immediately second guess their own assumption that the answer given is incorrect.

On the traditional calculator, the same exact simple equation is entered in the same order, 50+50x2. But there's something weird that happens. The traditional calculator comes up with a completely different answer than the other calculator. This time the answer to the equation is 200, but how?

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