Having Healthy Conversations About Our Political Climate (Without Losing It)

“With the holidays here, I see more and more friends anxiously awaiting (or even avoiding) the dreaded conversation about politics at the dinner table. There is no escaping it, America feels different than it did two years ago (no matter what party you belong to), and everyone’s waiting to see how representatives elected in November will impact our lives in the new year.

If you’re like me, it all kind of feels exhausting, and yet… I find myself wanting more and more to share my feelings and my thoughts about how political life is impacting how I feel about myself, my country, and the world.

So, how do we do it? How do we have a discussion about our political climate, without coming to blows, especially with people who may hold different views than us?

Here are some key questions to ask yourself and others you navigate political conversations with:

What are my intentions and what are yours?

You’ll do yourself a world of favor by asking yourself (and the person you’re connecting with) what you intend to give and to get from the conversation. Are you intending to debate an issue? Are you intending to offer a defense of an idea or value? Are you simply trying to express your thoughts and feelings, just to share them?

Most importantly: Are you open to hearing ideas and opinions that are different from your own?

If you can be honest with this question, you can save yourself time and emotional energy in the long run. My strong recommendation is to (1.) always come from a place of listening, and (2.) to only engage in these kind of conversations with people who want to listen and share, rather than persuade and debate.”

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Gabriele Almon