SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH (GOOD THINGS UTAH) — Thanksgiving is here and that means big gatherings filled with people with different perspectives. This can bring up difficult emotions for some. Rob Volpe is an empathy activist and founder of Ignite 360 and joined us on the show to share some tips for keeping the peace at the dinner table.

Some may want to avoid certain topics, but Rob says there are several things you can do if you are feeling uncomfortable in a conversation. First, it’s important to always remember to take that curious breath to help clear your head and prepare yourself to respond instead of react. Second is to try to integrate into understanding. Everyone has their own perspective and it’s not wrong, try to be curious and open to understanding. Next, let people know you are listening to them and repeat back what they said to you, ask if you got it right. These all promote empathy and it makes a difference in how we interact with one another.

In addition to trying to keep the peace, you can deepen your connections with others with a fun question game. It is based off a game called Lifeology. The game consists of 9 questions that can be printed and cut out, then pass them out at the table or have people draw. The question is asked and everyone answers. This can help people learn more about each other, find what they have in common and learn more about what’s behind our differences. You can download the Holiday Lifeology Game here.

Rob’s book about empathy titled Tell me more about that is available online at Amazon and at The King’s English in SLC. Additional tips for holiday conversations can be found at or on Instagram @empathy_activist