In workplaces and living rooms across the country, people are having hard conversations about the COVID-19 vaccine. And with Thanksgiving around the corner, we’ll soon be navigating these vaccination questions for family get-togethers and holiday gatherings. Talking about vaccination can arouse deep-seated anxieties related to safety, health and autonomy.

High-stakes conversations like these can unravel quickly. Wrong words or bad assumptions can thrust a relationship into repetitive cycles of defensiveness, mistrust and antagonism. If you’ve ever seen Thanksgiving dinner devolve into a shouting argument about politics, you know what this looks like – and you know how painful it can be, not only for the people involved but for a whole community.