How to Discuss Politics Politely

2020 has been an unending roller coaster of a year for everyone.  The 2020 Presidential Election has been a huge contributor to the ups and downs of it all. With everything that is going on in politics these days, it is impossible to avoid some form of political conversation. Quite often a conversation over politics can turn ugly. With these tips, a peaceful political conversation won’t be too difficult to achieve. 

Choose the Setting Wisely 

When deciding if bringing up politics ia good idea or not, make sure to look at the surroundings. If the room is full of strangers; it’s probably not the best idea to bring anything up. Politics are a very tricky topic that most people disagree on. Politics need to be brought up at the right time and place to help ensure that the conversation remains civil.  

Mackenzie Flatt is a part-time beauty consultant at Target, where she has experienced some unfavorable political remarks. Flatt said, “I overheard two Target guests on a date start talking about politics. They didn’t agree on anything at all and it quickly got awkward because they were arguing in the middle of the shampoo aisle.”  

The Target shampoo aisle might be a questionable choice for a date, but it also isn’t very ideal for such a deep topic. It’s best to avoid super public places because most people would prefer to not be involved in the conversation. Try to save it for at home or a close friends house. If the setting seems off, then it probably isn’t the best place for politics 

Don’t Try to Educate  

When sharing an opinion with others, try to just share it. Avoid trying to educate anyone on the topic. The intent might be to share an alternative perspective. However, listeners may feel they are being taught a lesson instead of being part of a conversation. This can be frustrating because no one likes to feel less-than or uneducated.Avoid making people feel less-than by not dismissing everything they say and staying open to their opinions 

If disagreements occur with someone’s opinionit’s best to not focus on wrong and right. When sharing opinionsit can be helpful to use phrases like “I think” or “In my opinion” to show that it’s just one perspective and what they believe isn’t being discounted. 

Don’t Pre-Judge 

One of the most important things to remember when discussing politics is to have an open mind. Embrace that everyone is different and that it’s okay for someone to disagree. If everyone just agreed on everything, there would never be anything to talk about.  

Crystal Hale is the at-risk coordinator and human services teacher at Earlham High School. Hale teaches a class about diversity and inclusion. It is in this class where she orchestrates many heavy-topic discussions among her students. Hale said, “I make sure that my students voices are heard, but also educated. I think everyone is titled to their own opinion, but they should be able to back up that opinion.”  

Hale loves these deep discussions she has with her students, and she is sure to hear everyone out before she makes her comments. She makes sure there is zero judgment, and a lot of learning. This is the perfect example of what to do during a political conversation. Make sure they are being heard, and don’t judge them because of their views.  

Show Respect  

Showing respect should not just be a tip for talking politics, but for all conversations. When things get heated, it is easy to get overwhelmed and say something hurtfulIt is important to remember to take a breather and try not to get too worked-up. There are three communication strategies that can assist in keeping calm and not losing someone’s respect. 

  • First, listening is one of the best ways to show respectIt may be hard to just sit and listen without saying anything, but interrupting is going to heat the conversation up quickly.  
  • Second, be sure to never belittle someone just because there is a disagreement. Everyone is wired differently. Everyone will see and interpret things differently. There is nothing that will change that 
  • Third, try to understand and acknowledge all sidesIt is important to be informed and think critically about different positions. It’s better to be educated than to state an opinion and not be able to back it up.  

The presidential race may be over now, but political discussions will most definitely continue. It is important to remember that everyone has experienced different lives and has a different view. Embrace those differences and celebrate that we are in a country that allows everyone to express their true selves. 


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