Mingling with the Enemy

How to Navigate Conversational Minefields (and Not Get Blown Up)

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.

It can happen anywhere: online, at the office, at a cocktail party, at a family get-together, at your local cafe, or at the gym. Suddenly, what began as a perfectly innocent chat about chocolate cake takes a bad turn, and you find yourself in an ugly argument about genetically altered foods. In our increasingly polarized world, where we’re continuously pummeled by politics via social media and the 24/7 news cycle, social situations have become more and more precarious. So how can we converse with the “other side”— without anyone getting hurt?

With insight, wit, and down-to-earth sensibility, mingling expert Jeanne Martinet offers a practical guide for handling any conversation. She provides strategies to help you to know your own triggers, choose the best topics, listen with empathy, and use humor and storytelling to ease tension and avoid conflict. You’ll also learn how to yield without “losing,” segue to another subject, exit gracefully when necessary, and much more. Social interaction is an essential, positive force that we need in order to thrive. Mingling with the Enemy is your road map for successfully traversing any and all hostile territories, and coming out unscathed.



“In this age of discord and disconnection, so many of us struggle to engage with others on even the most basic level. In Mingling with the Enemy, Jeanne Martinet wisely advises readers on how to navigate even the trickiest social landmines with skill, grace, and humor. The strategies and advice in this book are timely, relevant, and actionable; this is the adulting manual I want to give to everyone I know!”

— Carla Naumburg, PhD

Author of How to Stop Losing Your Sh*t With Your Kids

“In Mingling with the Enemy, Jeanne Martinet offers a powerful antidote to rising incivility, intolerance and outright hate. This insightful book is lucid, compelling, and above all, timely.”

— Maggie Jackson

Author of Distracted: Reclaiming Our Focus in a World of Lost Attention

Mingling with the Enemy is a timely and useful book. Martinet does a wonderful job of exposing the social costs of our polarized era, and she offers a number of sensible tips for helping us, if not overcome our differences, at least learn to understand them better. Civil conversation of course is not a cure-all, but, as Martinet shows, it is a necessary step toward a more productive political discourse—and a step away from the brink.”

— Ulrich Boser

Author of The Leap: The Science of Trust and Why It Matters

“Jeanne Martinet offers a much-needed guide to surviving today’s growing “partisan phobia.” Using examples from every-day social situations, Martinet outlines clever and practical tools to help navigate, and even disarm politically divisive topics. Her fun conversational style makes this an enjoyable and accessible read for anyone who is tired of fighting and instead wants to connect more meaningfully across the aisle.”

— Anatasia S. Kim, PhD

Associate professor of clinical psychology at The Wright Institute in Berkeley, CA, and author of It’s Time to Talk (and Listen)


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