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How to Have Political Discussion without Losing Friends

Research shows that our political climate is more polarized than ever and that intolerance for other people’s political beliefs is at an all-time high. Friendships and even marriages have ended as a result of political differences, and this has made many people afraid to discuss their political views with loved ones.

Relationship development experts offer advice on how to navigate the election season without losing your loved ones. Something that you may be tempted to do, is to entirely avoid talking politics with your family and friends.

Politics are personal! When we are unable to discuss politics with our friends, it means we can’t talk about our worldview, our goals for the future, and our deeply-held beliefs. So, taking politics off the table really cheapens our intimacy and leaves us with small-talk. It is important to discuss politics in a way that is not inflammatory or divisive. Here are some top tips for navigating these hot-button topics without losing your best buds:

Drop the hyperbole

Force yourself to have conversations without relying on hyperbole or resorting to insults. Calling Trump an orange Cheeto isn’t going to get you very far with someone who fervently or casually supports the president.

Think of the outcome

You probably aren’t going to get your friend to change their vote or agree that you are right. Each person is unique and therefore their viewpoint is unique too. You can share your views honestly. Try not to manipulate or convert friends and family, rather ask open-ended questions that allow them to think for themselves about their stance on a specific topic. Speak clearly and openly about your own opinions and how you came to your conclusions. Perhaps if you are open, you may see another perspective too.

Look for where you do agree

It’s easy to zero in on where you and your friends disagree. Listening to their opinions, you may realize that you both agree on more than you realize. You both have the same end picture in mind. You love your country and want people across America to succeed..

Look for where you have a commonality and hold on to that connection when it feels like you two have absolutely nothing in common. Ultimately we all need to work together and pull in the same direction!

Use ‘I’ statements and rely on your own personal experiences

Instead of saying ‘Don’t you care about the kids at the border?’ you might say, ‘It really breaks my heart to see migrant children without their parents. Make it personal and help your friend understand why you feel so deeply about the issue at hand.

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