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Have you ever been talking with a friend or family member and the conversation veers onto a controversial, political topic and you feel a pang of fear take over? “Oh no, no . . . This is going nowhere good.” Perhaps you have a general fear of conflict; or perhaps you feel attacked when people bring up the opposing views on an issue of importance to you; or perhaps you feel afraid to learn if your loved one has more differing views from you than you thought.

Whatever the source of these fears that can come up, this week at Verily, just in time for Halloween, we explore the fright that can overtake us when encountering people of differing views, and how to overcome them. On Tuesday we feature an article by Alexandra Davis who reminds us it’s okay to have friends who don't share our values, and not just that—having friends with differing views can make for more meaningful conversation and force us to think more critically. Whether we change our views or maintain our values despite challenging conversations, having such conversations can help us understand others better, and perhaps even bolster our views with better backup.

Also this week, we share an article by Alexandra DeSanctis on what can happen when the voices of those with differing views are silenced in our cultural conversations. DeSanctis explores the effects of cancel culture on young women today, in particular with regard to social media platforms more frequently used by women, such as Instagram.

It may not just be Halloween that’s spooking many of us; for many, it’s Election Day. Which is why, in the coming days leading up to November 3, we will also be featuring articles on how to identify and tackle biases within ourselves and nurture empathy with others of different views, including a piece this week by Laura Loker on how to keep perspective that your vote is not your identity. Also keep your eye out for tips for self-care on and after Election Day. While we won’t be touching on the politics, per usual (except for news coverage in our weekly Friday news roundup “While You Were Out”), we hope to provide the kind of content that helps you find a breath of fresh air we find too rarely elsewhere.

We want to hear from you, too—when the news cycle or conversations with loved ones get scary or overwhelming, how do you take care of yourself and your relationships? Let us know here and we may include your answer in our daily email.