Can we not talk about politics?
People wanting to have political conversations are unavoidable these days. Inevitably at family dinners or office parties, someone will bring up their thoughts on our elected officials and their performance or lack thereof. Here are some tips to manage those moments, and bring back the good times of talking about the weather.
· History repeats itself: Has your yoga teacher put you in an awkward position conversationally? Rather than walk your downward dog out of that class, be prepared next time it comes up to speak frankly about her behavior making people uncomfortable. When you know what you're going to say the conversation is easier to have. You'd be surprised, but simply asking nicely can keep people to less polarizing topics. In general folks really don't want to offend anyone.
· Preventative Measures: There used to be a general agreement that it was best to avoid the subjects of money, politics and religion. People don’t know that rule any more, or like with turn signals, have just decided they are exempt. Take a cue from school principals and lay it out for them: “This is my dinner party. Want to eat at a card table in the garage? Talk politics.” (Just leave out "Attention teachers and students" or they'll be on to you.)
· Stand up for yourself: If politics does come up, don’t just roll your eyes and let the conversation get nasty. Who wants to be around that kind of negativity? You'll be doing everyone a favor by getting the tension and hostility out of the room. Be firm but polite, and change the subject. Super cheesy jokes work well to redirect. "Democrat, Republican...I was invited to Bob's party. Who made this fantastic guacamole?"
With these tips, you can resume regular conversational life, and conserve your thoughts about politics for the discussions you really WANT to have with people who engage you.
Be well and love well.