How To Talk About Politics With Your Family

family and politics

The presidential election is leaving many sick to their stomachs, so we thought it would be good if we chimed in a few words to ease the pain. Heated arguments are just a few sparks away in most family gatherings, so here we’ve outlined the common temptations, and how to cool things down.

The Temptations

Humans are great at thinking their point of view is smart, and that anyone who disagrees is dumb. Hey, you love your country, and you believe important things are at risk. It’s okay to be passionate, right? Yes, but biting words and spite never take an argument far. In fact, if you lose your cool during a discussion, people are more likely to disagree with you.

The Cheap Shot

If you know someone leans a certain way, don’t dish out a snide remark in a setting where you know most others are on your side. For example, if your brother in law supports Hillary, and everyone else supports Trump, don’t call him out at a gathering.

A Wayward Child

Don’t freak out if your child says something in favor of a candidate you oppose. Learn about his perspective, and express your own views respectfully. If you’re so anxious to convince a child one way or the other, use tried and true tactful discussion, and don’t be condescending.

The Disdain

Many people treat this election as a big joke–indeed it has been comical at times, if darkly so to some. Try to be understanding of those who feel real belief in a candidate, even if you don’t have an ounce of hope.

Disdain also comes into play on social media. Some find it difficult to believe that anyone could support a candidate they despise. Some don’t feel safe sharing their opinions, because of very cemented ideas in certain environments.

The Evangelist

If someone wants to hear preaching, they’ll go a church. Don’t show up to family gatherings like some kind of missionary for your politics. Also, don’t email articles to everyone that support your views.

The Gloater

This one’s obvious. Don’t throw a victory in your family’s face.

How to Cool Things Down

1. Be genuinely curious. Try saying something like “I hadn’t thought of it that way before. Tell me more.”
2. Ask for permission to talk politics. Say something like “I’ve had this thought and I wanted to run it by you. Is that okay?”
3. Focus on what areas of agreement.
4. Just drop it. Know when to quit. If someone is feeling hurt, or someone is being too aggressive, it’s time to change the subject.


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