In one of my previous blog post, I shared the importance of learning to co-exist with those who have opposing viewpoints. In this charged post-election world, challenging our own beliefs, fostering empathy for others, and opening ourselves to the possibility of finding common ground with others is crucial.

Getting along with those who have deep political or otherwise different beliefs may feel like an impossible challenge, but it is possible. Here are a few simple ways you can work toward keeping and growing your relationships with people with whom you disagree.

Strategies for open, empathic, and mutual communication include:

  1. Use my Empathic Process. The Empathic Process is a conversation that must happen in person – not online. Meet a friend in a mutual environment, not an office which is a place of power, nor a bedroom where sleep and sexuality occur. Divide your time into thirds, giving each person ample time to express his feelings while the other listens actively making eye contact, and when appropriate, touch. The last third of the time you both speak mutually… together, investing each of you in a collaborative conversation with the goal toward problem solving. Ultimately something new and transcendent will evolve that best represents the ideas of both.
  2. Recognize your own projections. If there is a charge to your position, then it is often a projection. Remember, the pointing finger has three fingers pointing back…to you. It is important to recognize and acknowledge your projection Then you can separate yourself from them, taking a good hard look and then bringing them on home. And by integrating your projections back into your own psyche, you will no longer be compelled to act them out.
  3. Describe your emotions. Describe your emotions so that your partner, friend, or relative can feel how you feel. Use descriptive language, for example “when you say (this) I feel like my stomach is sinking, the way it does when an elevator drops”. Explain your viewpoint by explaining yourself. Remind your friend that by knowing your history, he can better understand where you are coming from, your behavior, and your ideas. Affirm his perspective by asking him to explain how he feels, and then how he got to his
  4. Don’t overreact. Be thoughtful and skillful; ask your friend for feedback. A heated emotional discourse can often disguise what’s really going on, and what you really think.
  5. Remember your friendship. Focus on the fact that the person you’re communicating with is valuable to you, that he is important and that you care how he feels. Friendship requires commitment, obligation and responsibility. By using my Empathic Process for communication, you can help reintegrate not only your patterns of behavior and projected material, but also that of your partner. It is in this way that you can repair yourself and your friendship through mutual respect, and value for his opinions, ideas, and points of view.


  • Dr. Gail Gross

    Author and Parenting, Relationships, and Human Behavior Expert

    Dr. Gail Gross, Ph.D., Ed.D., M.Ed., a member of the American Psychological Association (APA) and member of APA Division 39, is a nationally recognized family, child development, and human behavior expert, author, and educator. Her positive and integrative approach to difficult issues helps families navigate today’s complex problems. Dr. Gross is frequently called upon by national and regional media to offer her insight on topics involving family relationships, education, behavior, and development issues. A dependable authority, Dr. Gross has contributed to broadcast, print and online media including CNN, the Today Show, CNBC's The Doctors, Hollywood Reporter, FOX radio, FOX’s The O’Reilly Factor, MSNBC, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Times of India, People magazine, Parents magazine, Scholastic Parent and Child Magazine, USA Today, Univision, ABC, CBS, and KHOU's Great Day Houston Show. She is a veteran radio talk show host as well as the host of the nationally syndicated PBS program, “Let’s Talk.” Also, Dr. Gross has written a semi-weekly blog for The Huffington Post and has blogged at since 2013. Recently, Houston Women's Magazine named her One of Houston's Most Influential Women of 2016. Dr. Gross is a longtime leader in finding solutions to the nation’s toughest education challenges. She co-founded the first-of-its kind Cuney Home School with her husband Jenard, in partnership with Texas Southern University. The school serves as a national model for improving the academic performance of students from housing projects by engaging the parents. Dr. Gross also has a public school elementary and secondary campus in Texas that has been named for her. Additionally, she recently completed leading a landmark, year-long study in the Houston Independent School District to examine how stress-reduction affects academics, attendance, and bullying in elementary school students, and a second study on stress and its effects on learning. Such work has earned her accolades from distinguished leaders such as the Dalai Lama, who presented her with the first Spirit of Freedom award in 1998. More recently, she was honored in 2013 with the Jung Institute award. She also received the Good Heart Humanitarian Award from Jewish Women International, Perth Amboy High School Hall of Fame Award, the Great Texan of the Year Award, the Houston Best Dressed Hall of Fame Award, Trailblazer Award, Get Real New York City Convention's 2014 Blogging Award, and Woman of Influence Award. Dr. Gross’ book, The Only Way Out Is Through, is available on Amazon now and offers strategies for life’s transitions including coping with loss, drawing from dealing with the death of her own daughter. Her next book, How to Build Your Baby’s Brain, is also available on Amazon now and teaches parents how to enhance their child’s learning potential by understanding and recognizing their various development stages. And her first research book was published by Random House in 1987 on health and skin care titled Beautiful Skin. Dr. Gross has created 8 audio tapes on relaxation and stress reduction that can be purchased on Most recently, Dr. Gross’s book, The Only Way Out is Through, was named a Next Generation Indie Book Awards Silver Medal finalist in 2020 and Winner of the 2021 Independent Press Awards in the categories of Death & Dying as well as Grief. Her latest book, How to Build Your Baby’s Brain, was the National Parenting Product Awards winner in 2019, the Nautilus Book Awards winner in 2019, ranked the No. 1 Best New Parenting Book in 2019 and listed among the Top 10 Parenting Books to Read in 2020 by BookAuthority, as well as the Next Generation Indie Book Awards Gold Medal winner in 2020 and Winner of the 2021 Independent Press Awards in the category of How-To. Dr. Gross received a BS in Education and an Ed.D. (Doctorate of Education) with a specialty in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Houston. She earned her Master’s degree in Secondary Education with a focus on Psychology from the University of St. Thomas in Houston. Dr. Gross received her second PhD in Psychology, with a concentration in Jungian studies. Dr. Gross was the recipient of Kappa Delta Pi An International Honor Society in Education. Dr. Gross was elected member of the International English Honor Society Sigma Tau Delta.