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A Guide to Talking Politics with Your Family This Thanksgiving

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Utah chapter.

With the recent end of the 2016 Elections and Thanksgiving just around the corner, it seems the political conversation with family members is inevitable. It is especially painful when extended family and their oh-so different beliefs all come together to stir up the pot. It surely does not make the most efficient dinner talk. Whether it is your die-hard red, Republican uncle or your liberally, left-sided sister, here’s some tips on how to handle talking politics with your family this Thanksgiving.

Avoid the political conversation in the first place

If you can avoid the hot topic all together, it’ll make for a much smoother Thanksgiving dinner. Try to steer the conversation away from politics by changing the subject or dominating the conversation with your own college life soliloquy. Keeping the dinner conversation light will ensure avoidance of uninformed political debates, overcharged emotions, unwanted screaming, and possible family walkouts. In this case, it’s best to beat around the bush.

Respect other people’s opinions even if they’re different from your own

Avoiding the political conversation may prove harder to do with some families than others. If you find yourself in a situation with a relentless family member who can’t help but discuss the presidential election, the next best tip is to be respectful. If you can’t avoid the conversation, at least avoid conflict. No matter how ignorant or ridiculous someone’s opinion is, try not to attack their beliefs. Even if the accuracy of their argument is so far off, know that you can’t change someone’s political beliefs over a dinner conversation. Everyone has a reason to their political views. And by no means am I saying you must accept what said family member is saying, but to just respect their different opinion. Just as you would want someone to respect your opinion, you must extend the same respect.

Listen to everyone’s point of view, wait for your turn to speak, and

Keep quiet if you’re uneducated on the topic

Say you find yourself in a situation where a family member is trying to argue with you on their political stance. In this situation, try your best to keep it civil. The best thing to do is to maintain the conversation in a civil, respectful manner and diffuse it if it gets out of hand. This means listening to everyone’s point of view before voicing your own. Along with this is allowing others to speak, and not interrupting someone else. And lastly, if you are uneducated about a certain topic, do not speak on it. Discussing a topic you have no knowledge about is ignorant and can lead to potential conflict. In conclusion, maintain the peace if you find yourself talking politics at the dinner table.

Remember that these people are your family

And if all else fails, know that these people are your family and you technically love them. Political, social, and religious views aside, this is the time to be together and enjoy each other’s company. Thanksgiving is a time of love and gratitude; therefore try to reflect those feelings during this time with family.

The holidays can be hard, especially when you throw politics in the mix. At the end of the day, know this is a time for connecting with loved ones and celebration. Perhaps this is the one time of the year where we can set aside our differences and come together in celebration. Good luck this upcoming Thursday, and remember to keep it light, respectful, and civil!



Her Campus Utah Chapter Contributor