Some Good Advise to Keep in Mind
The political season is upon us and that means that you and your friend are probably discussing the issues and candidates. Chances are, you’ll end up disagreeing with at least some of what your friend believes politically. Without proper perspective, political disagreements can end a friendship, so it’s important get a handle on things before an argument goes so far that it gets out of hand. Here are some tips to help you get along.
Discuss Things Without Trying to Change Your Friend’s Mind
Part of the blow ups that happen between friends occur because each is trying to change the other’s mind. The discussion goes from a calm place to a major argument, perhaps even with yelling and personal attacks. It can be maddening to some people when a friend doesn’t believe the same thing they do.
Here’s a tip that will change your relationships forever with people: Let them be who they want to be. Don’t try to change them or what they believe. Understand that everyone has an opinion based on the unique things that have gone on in their life. Change your focus from “Why doesn’t my friend vote like I do” to “I want to understand my friend’s views about politics and life.” Just try and understand, even if you don’t agree. (It’s a challenge, but it can be done.)
Get the Facts
One of the most frustrating things about discussing politics is that people on both sides of any issue very rarely get all the facts straight. It’s not always their fault. A lot of information gets thrown about in a voting year and it’s easy to pick up on a small fact without putting it in context with the larger issue. When you’re having a discussion with a friend, focus on the factual statements you know to be true, and if your friend gets them wrong, give them the correct information calmly. If they argue, let it go. At least you know what the real issue is.
Don’t Assume Things About Your Friend
Remember that old adage about assuming? (When you assume you make an ASS out of U and ME.) With friendship, you naturally bond with someone and therefore feel close to them. When you share a lot in common, it can be shocking the first time you realize that you disagree about a large political, moral, or religious issue. But believe it, because even the people you share just about everything in life with will have different opinions than you.
Everyone has an opinion
Rather than assume that your friend shares your views, go into new discussions with the objective of finding out what your friend thinks. This is a switch in intellectual view, and will actually enhance the conversations you have. Pretend you know nothing about your pal and listen closely to what they say when you ask them about a hot-button issue. One thing that tends to happen with arguments is that someone starts to talk about their views, but the person listening instantly gets upset because their views are different, and because they are caught off guard with their friend’s take on things.
Thank you Cherie Burbach for this advise.