The holidays are a time when families reunite, spend a significant amount of time together and often discuss the ways of the world. Over the holidays, there are most likely going to be subjects of conversation that are sensitive, like religion, and of course, politics. So, how do you approach issues like these that make even the shyest people behave irrationally because of their own beliefs? And how do you discuss sensitive topics without offending your family?
It is common for people to have differing opinions, and especially when it comes to our current political administration, people are very passionate about politics. Many families might even impose strict “Don’t mention Trump” regulations for conversation. Politics is one of the most common causes of family arguments in America, but the truth is, it is healthy to bring up subjects like politics and to argue your points.
America is currently more divided than ever. Politics has never been so passion-inspiring before this administration, and it is a rare thing to be able to sit and talk seriously with someone who disagrees with your opinion. When your family members are those people, it’s important to draw a line and not let conversations or beliefs get in the way of your relationships.
Here are some basic rules of engagement when it comes to approaching sensitive subjects these holidays.
How To Begin
Make sure your phone is turned off. You can’t get your point across if you are scrolling through Facebook or Twitter. It’s also a bit disrespectful. Make a calm statement about what you would like to discuss. Whether its politics, religion or a family matter that needs desperate attention, you need to approach it calmly. Ask a question to someone about the subject and try not to make it sound like an accusation. Ask if the other person wants to discuss the matter. If they agree to engage in the conversation make it clear you don’t want to start a fight, have a conversation.
Try not to force your opinions and try not to express judgment. If you feel like you are being judged, express it and explain why you think that way. Try not to cut anyone off, and don’t let them cut you off. Keep it civilized and don’t throw personal attacks into the argument. Don’t rush someone’s opinion, let them take their time to answer, this also gives you more time to listen and respond appropriately to their points.
Time Out From Conversation
Probably the most essential part of an argument on sensitive subjects is that you take time out, allow the other person or people to take time out, consider their responses, and your points, and regroup. Words often hurt people’s feelings, and you should speak up if you feel you have been mistreated. If you think the conversation is heading into dark territory, stop it and take some time out, or change the subject, but let the other person know why.
How To End The Conversation
Try and truly understand what the other person is trying to tell you. Listen to their opinion without being too defensive. Some people can be very passionate about their beliefs, but the idea of this argument is not to try and turn them away from their opinions, but to allow them to listen to yours, and how they differ. You might learn something, and they might learn something. This is what it is all about, not proving that your point is better than their point. Acknowledge it when they teach you something new. There is no harm in ending a conversation early if it seems to be going nowhere.