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Mingling with the Enemy: A Social Survival Guide for Our Divided Era

Mingling with the Enemy: A Social Survival Guide for Our Divided Era

by Jeanne Martinet


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From the bestselling author of The Art of Mingling, an essential how-to for navigating today’s conversational minefields.
We are living in a new social era: The Powder Keg Era. These days almost every subject leads straight to politics, and the conversation goes straight to hell. In a nation that is completely polarized, with most of us continually pummeled by social media and the 24/7 news cycle, our social lives are taking a hit.
It can happen anywhere: at a friend’s birthday bash, a wedding reception, the gym, your local cafe, or your family Thanksgiving dinner. Even a group Zoom with colleagues or office mates can be dangerous. Suddenly, what began as a perfectly innocent chat about chocolate cake or seasonal allergies takes a bad turn, and you find yourself in an ugly argument about genetically altered foods or the healthcare system. Every day the tensions among us seem to be rising; the ever-widening ideological chasm is hurting our ability to communicate. So, how can we learn how to converse with people who are on the “other side”—without anyone getting hurt?
With an insightful and down-to-earth sensibility, bestselling author Jeanne Martinet offers a practical and encouraging guide to navigating conversations in our current social climate. She illustrates easy-to-learn techniques and strategies to help you: keep your mind open, know your own triggers, pick the best topics, change course to avoid disaster, be an active listener, master the ability to yield without losing, employ humor and storytelling to ease tension, go undercover when necessary, be a brilliant subject changer, and find common ground. She also provides important tips on knowing when it’s time to take up the gauntlet and when it’s better to make a graceful escape.
We have to keep talking to each other at all costs. Social interaction is a positive force that we need in order to thrive, individually and as a society, especially in today’s fractured world. Learning to mingle with the “enemy” is about figuring out how to have conversations with people that may make us afraid or angry. It’s about recognizing the presumptions—even prejudices—we all have when coming into contact with certain people.
With the ultimate goal of teaching us how to connect with each other more fully, Mingling with the Enemy furnishes a road map for successfully traversing any and all hostile territories—without anyone getting blown up.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781684035212
Publisher: New Harbinger Publications
Publication date: 12/01/2020
Pages: 200
Sales rank: 1,108,842
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Jeanne Martinet is author of eight other books, including The Art of Mingling, which has been published worldwide and has sold more than 150,000 copies in the US. She has been featured in TheNew York Times, Salon, The Boston Globe, the Chicago Tribune, and The Washington Post, as well as in many other publications. Martinet has shared her humor and mingling know-how on hundreds of TV and radio shows, including NBC’s The Today Show, and NPR’s Morning Edition. She lives, writes, and mingles in New York City, NY.

Table of Contents

Preface Fear and Loathing at the Dinner Table vii

Introduction Socializing in the Powder Keg Era 1

Chapter 1 Pre-Mingle Prep 13

The Dangers of "Anti-Social" Media

Embracing Small Talk

Unset Your Mind

Spiritual CliffsNotes: Get Centered

Self-Checklist: Recognize Your Own Triggers

Bad Blood Warning: Stay Clear of Open Wounds

Chapter 2 Safe Starts and Innocuous Initial Forays 31

Rule Number One…and Two and Three: Never Assume

Avoiding the Third Rail: The ABCs of Some Common Volatile Topics

Safe Doesn't Have to Mean Boring

Chapter 3 Entering the DMZ: Taking Chances 43

The Rewards of Respectful Debate

Conversational Recon: How to Test for Friends, Foes, or Fanatics

Telltale Warning Signs of Impending Conversational Doom

Don't Be a Knee Jerk: Techniques for Avoiding Overreaction

Chapter 4 The Way of the Empath 61

Listen with All Your Might (Then Listen Some More)

Ask Real Questions

Visualization: Picturing the Inner Three-Year-Old

Love and Flattery Are Your Best Friends; Keep Them Close

Yielding Without Losing: Applying Tai Chi Principles in Conversation

Chapter 5 Creative Survival Strategies 73

Storytelling as a Smoothing-Over Technique

Conversational Camouflaging: How Going Undercover Is Sometimes Better Than Wearing Your Opinion on Your Sleeve

The Power of Silence

Humor: A Mingler's Greatest Tool

Chapter 6 Diversionary Tactics 85

Swimming to an Island of Common Ground

Deflection: Six Subject-Changing Techniques

The Ejector Seat: Essential Escape Maneuvers

The Party Pause

Graceful Retreat

Chapter 7 Helping Others: Being a Social Diplomat 109

Peacekeeping Missions

The Fine Art of Distraction

Beware of Death by Triangulation

Helping a Partner

Lending a Hosting Hand

Chapter 8 When Mingling Online 129

How to Don Your Virtual Armor

Seven Rules to Post By

Counting to Ten (Hours)

Dealing with Trolls

Chapter 9 Channeling Your Inner Buddha: Family Get-Togethers 141

Pre-visit Instructions

Love Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry (That You Voted for Someone Else)

Divide and Conquer (or at Least Contain)

Baby Steps: Venturing Out of the Neutral Zone

Chapter 10 Handling Special Circumstances 159

Advice for Handling Upsetting Public Altercations

Tangling with the Tangential: Doctors, Doormen, and Dry Cleaners

A Word About Facing Nonpolitical "Enemies"

Picking Battles: When It Is Worth a Skirmish

Epilogue The "Enemy" Dispelled 179

Acknowledgments 181

Endnotes 183


Martinet resides in New York, NY.

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