Angry Uncle Review: The Angry Uncle Bot

Perhaps I will dedicate myself today to reviewing other people’s advice about how to deal with angry uncles at Thanksgiving. First up is Karin Tamerius, a former psychiatrist and the founder of Smart Politics. She recommends a five-step process:

  1. Ask open-ended, genuinely curious, nonjudgmental questions.
  2. Listen to what people you disagree with say and deepen your understanding with follow-up inquiries.
  3. Reflect back their perspective by summarizing their answers and noting underlying emotions.
  4. Agree before disagreeing by naming ways in which you agree with their point of view.
  5. Share your perspective by telling a story about a personal experience.

In order to practice, Tamerius has created the Angry Uncle Bot, which allows you to simulate a conversation with your Trump-loving uncle. That’s handy!

Unfortunately, the “correct” answers are pretty obvious, and it’s not clear if this technique has been tested in the real world. The Uncle Bot is an innovative idea, but I’m afraid the all-too-conventional 5-step process reduces its usefulness. I give it three uncles out of five.

FOLLOW THE MONEY

Corporations and billionaires don’t fund journalism like ours that exists to shake things up. Instead, support from readers allows Mother Jones to call it like it is without fear, favor, or false equivalence.

And right now, a longtime friend of Mother Jones has pledged an incredibly generous gift to inspire—and double—giving from online readers. That's huge! Because you can see that our fall fundraising drive is well behind the $325,000 we need to raise. So if you agree that in-depth, fiercely independent journalism matters right now, please support our work and help us raise the money it takes to keep Mother Jones charging hard. Your gift, and all online donations up to $94,000 total, will be matched and go twice as far—but only until the November 9 deadline.

$400,000 to go: Please help us pick up the pace!

payment methods

FOLLOW THE MONEY

Corporations and billionaires don’t fund journalism like ours that exists to shake things up. Instead, support from readers allows Mother Jones to call it like it is without fear, favor, or false equivalence.

And right now, a longtime friend of Mother Jones has pledged an incredibly generous gift to inspire—and double—giving from online readers. That's huge! Because you can see that our fall fundraising drive is well behind the $325,000 we need to raise. So if you agree that in-depth, fiercely independent journalism matters right now, please support our work and help us raise the money it takes to keep Mother Jones charging hard. Your gift, and all online donations up $94,000 total, will be matched and go twice as far—but only until the November 9 deadline.

$400,000 to go: Please help us pick up the pace!

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate