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Tips to Navigating Political Discussions With Family

Student Politics | Photo by Jessica Fugett | The Wright State Guardian

Political Discussions | Photo by Jessica Fugett | The Wright State Guardian

Between a global pandemic, a critical election year and human rights issues at an all-time high, 2020 has been a year of divided politics.

Many of these hot button issues are likely to show up around holiday dinner tables this year. Whether you love or hate politics, here are just a few tips on how to survive the most awkward family political discussions. 

Listen and talk through the issues 

When actively discussing sensitive issues with family, keep in mind that even though you are family, it is okay to have different thoughts, feelings and experiences than them. You want to keep the other person in mind and be respectful of their views, but stay firm in yours. 

When a family member holds opposite beliefs to yours, try considering listening to their views, you may find that your beliefs are not all that far off. Ask questions that challenge said person’s beliefs, and see how they react.

Communication is key for this option.  Check-in with each other throughout the conversation to see how each member is feeling and reacting.  

Change the topic 

Not wanting to talk politics at all over the holiday dinner table is perfectly normal, and no one will blame you for wanting to change the topic in 2020.

If you are struggling to steer clear of the topic, look for easy outs. Mother-in-law got a new house plant, compliment her on it! Uncle made a great pumpkin pie, emphasize how much you love it! Just be careful when talking about the weather as this could lead to an uncomfortable climate change conversation. 

Simply walk away  

Whether you are hopping on a plane or a computer to celebrate this season with your family, there is a good reason why you take this effort each year. It may be out of tradition or love, but whatever the reason, keep your purpose in mind when the talk gets difficult.  

If you can no longer handle the conversation or the tension begins to rise, consider simply leaving the situation or logging off the computer. You and your loved ones will appreciate it more if you take control rather than losing control.

Jamie Naylor

Contributing Writer