Photo courtesy of The Balance
I wanted to provide some ideas on how to initiate a conversation about politics. It’s such a taboo thing to bring up at social events but so important to discuss. Last night there was a CNN town hall on the sexual harassment epidemic in our country and people were listening, asking, discussing and debating the horrific amount of sexual assault/harassment stories coming in the past few weeks. Actors, Senators, Teachers…it’s hard to feel safe and to be able to have discussions on such an intense topic. However by remaining silent is to remain compliant and that is not right either.
We need to talk about what’s going on, so I made a guide of how you may be able to navigate a political conversation without offending anyone or losing any friends!
My 3 Step Guide to better political conversations:
- Ask: Have you been following what’s happening in the news?
- A question like this is a good way to “test the waters” so to speak; is the person you are engaging in a conversation with up to date on current events? If they say no than now you know to be cautious in going too heavy into details on things this person may not know or care about. If you immediately start rattling off things happening after the person says no it may come off as rude and/or condescending. Maybe just keep it broad and simplified in this case.
- Ask: What are some of the issues that you care about or want to learn more about?
- Opening a dialogue about things that another person cares about provides the opportunity for a conversation that contains more passion and concern. If you realize right away you may have opposing views as the person you’re talking to, make sure to actually listen and understand why that person feels the way they do before going on defense for your beliefs – avoid hostility. This is a great chance to have a real discussion.
- Tell: These are the outlets/news sources I follow (i.e New York Times, CNN, The Skimm)
- By providing the outlets you’re using your informing the other person on the possible side of the political spectrum you may be on while also holding yourself accountable to what outlets you’re reading/using. Are they ones that you’re proud to state in conversation or do you feel yourself being hesitant to say who you trust in the news?
These are just some ways to maintain a conversation when discussing politics that I try to use so that I can take something away from a productive talk. It’s okay to have different opinions and values, but it’s not okay to suppress them and just assume you’re correct without hearing other perspectives!