• Sally Maeng

When did you last have a civil conversation with the opposing side?

Amanda's Story

"Why can't we be friends?" (War, Why Can't We Be Friends)


Calling Amanda a social butterfly is an understatement. She is your go-to cheerful chick who's always a party to have around. Amid her upbeat energy, Amanda's extroversion goes beyond having fun with people. Amanda is passionate about creating spaces where people feel comfortable to engage in stimulating conversations and connect with new people.


In other words, Amanda is one of us; she is also interested in learning about people's passions! Specifically, she's interested in bringing different passionate views together. You don't have to agree with the opposite party. It's about empathetic listening, trying to understand the person and their ideas without rejecting the person. It's creating an opportunity to deepen and/or balance your existing worldview without destructing communities.


Jubilee, a media company, exemplifies the type of conversations Amanda loves to have. They have many different video series. One of my favorite videos is I'm an Incel. Ask Me Anything. They have one incel man and the random people on the street to ask him their questions. Can Rival Gangs Coexist Peacefully? | Middle Ground is an interesting one too! In this one, several gang members have a conversation and form friendships by the end of the video.


Amanda's annual Galentine's Day brunch

These are great visuals that explain why Amanda enjoys bringing people with vastly different views together in a respectful environment.

  1. It's refreshing to see civil conversations between people with passionate yet polarizing opinions.

  2. These people would likely never meet together if it wasn't for Jubilee (or Amanda if you're hanging out with her).

  3. Even if these people met organically, would their conversations consist more of insults than active listening without an intentional setup?


In North America, it seemed as though highly vocal people with highly dividing views became more prevalent during Trump's presidency. Additionally, documentaries like The Social Dilemma emphasize how social media can influence people's opinions to become more extreme by surrounding your digital space with like-minded people.


I get it. It's comfortable and affirming to be around people who share your values. Furthermore, this is how positive movements like Black Lives Matter manifests. Sadly, it also mobilizes harmful white supremacists groups. Soon, you have people antagonizing each other with hateful comments behind a screen...which sometimes leads to brutal hate crimes and insensible murders.


Why do we have to use violent words and actions to make a point? What if we took the time to understand each other instead of yell out our opinions? This is where Amanda comes in.


One of Amanda's biggest parties of the year, the Dundies at New Year's Eve

Amanda's natural people skills allow her to make friends easily. She loves planning parties and sometimes invites all her different friend groups. Then she lets people mingle. So far, her house hasn't burned down yet, so it's not, not working!


Other times, she sparks conversations in a smaller group. When someone has opposite views, she asks them about it instead of getting defensive. Rather than thinking of counter comebacks while the other person is sharing their perspectives, Amanda leans in and gives her full attention. She wants to learn what, how, and why these worldviews came to be. Afterward, Amanda challenges her existing worldview and make sure it still aligns with her foundational core values.


I get that we don't all have to be friends. But wouldn't it be an insane world if we could be despite our vastly different values? Would that be world peace?

To contact Amanda and learn more about this story, follow @amandalaurino on Instagram.

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