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How to Communicate with Family Members Who Hold Different Political Views

Updated: Nov 17

The election results are in, and regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, the U.S. will inaugurate its 46th President in January 2021.

Now, with the results may come heated discussions with friends and family.


(Having personally been embroiled in a messy political email exchange—the entire 150-person reunion-planning list for my mother’s Irish-Catholic family—I think I’ve learned a thing or two about effective in-fighting.)

So if you’re in a politically-divided family, and you’re worried your Zoom Thanksgiving may get messy this year, please keep the following in mind.

· Manage your expectations.

You may want to talk politics, and you’re well within your right to do so. That said, be sure to manage your expectations (and ground yourself in reality during the conversation).

Nothing’s wrong with a little back-and-forth—but if you start a discussion in hopes of changing your loved ones’ views, you may have an unrealistic take on the situation.

· Steer clear of interrupting the conversation.

Your goal, in discussing politics with family, should be to communicate and listen. This means allowing the other person (or people) to speak, even if you disagree with them.

By setting the standard for a respectful discussion, you can expect to receive the same kind of treatment—no matter the political rifts you face.

· Take the high road.

In other words, know when to walk away. While it’s one thing to disagree about tax policy, many issues—those involving the pandemic, reproductive rights, and systemic racism, to name a few—are deeply sensitive. To be blunt, they're generally quite emotional.

So if you feel your political discussion is getting heated, aim to take the high road when possible. Stay calm, cool, and collected—and know when to walk away (with your integrity intact).

Ultimately, it’s perfectly natural to experience political tension in your family. Yet the way you handle things can make all the difference.

Have comments about talking politics with family—or questions about what we do here at Umbrella Security Services? Please contact us for more information.

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