When relatives gather for the holidays, something other than delicious food may be served up — political discussions. According to a Pew Research Center survey, 60% of Americans polled don’t mind political talk at family gatherings. However, 40% said they try to avoid the subject. And no wonder.
Voicing political opinions with your relatives can often lead to arguments, causing tempers to flare — even if the host specifically requests that guests leave political views at home.
If you want to keep politics out of your holiday gatherings, plan ahead to use these strategies:
Be proactive. Focus on happy memories and what your relatives have in common. Don’t hesitate to steer the conversation from politics to other subjects, such as post-holiday shopping, sports or vacation plans for the new year.
Watch your own words and tone. Sarcasm can make a political disagreement worse, and so will trying to change someone’s views over dinner.
If tensions rise, stay calm. Take a deep breath and shut down political arguments with a gentle approach. Instead of being angry about the discord, try saying this: “I understand that’s your opinion, but I’d love to get away from politics at Thanksgiving. Now let’s talk about something else for a while.”