Ways to tackle awkward political discussion at family dinners

When Americans assemble to slurp Thanksgiving turkey with their relatives, they will do it for the first time in centuries during an impeachment inquiry.

American politics are becoming more controversial than ever before, and some family members are bound to be tensed by the political dispute. As per 2018 national study by Pew Research Center, more than half of Americans believe speaking about elections to people is usually frustrating and unpleasant.

How do you avoid the great political disaster from making your holiday meal into a catastrophe with controversies pouring out of the White House almost daily when the 2020 presidential elections just under a year away?

While deciding to blacklist politics from the family meal table is flawlessly fine for relatives, there is a way to have serious discussions efficiently, said Vaile Wright, a clinical psychologist and the American Psychological Association’s research director.

Further, she said “This could be the last moment that the family is not alone, and I know these are discussions that we as people need to have to push our nation ahead.”

Here are few advice on how to make sure that politics doesn’t drag the family vacation into a venue you’re not so grateful for don’t make it a problem, if you don’t have politics, may not come up at all: only 29 per cent of Americans visiting a Thanksgiving meal said politics is quite probably to be discussed, as per 2017 HuffPost / YouGov research study.

If you want to keep politics out from the holidays and you’re pretty damn sure that your friends and/or family members won’t bring it up, then it’s safest not to be the one to discuss the topic.

“It’s better not to bring it up,” said etiquette expert Lizzie Post, co-chair of the Emily Post Institute and the eponymous founder’s great-granddaughter. “Something you don’t want to do if you’re open about it is to say’ Oh goodness, I can’t stand up to politics.'” Don’t worry about redirecting the conversation, but if politics arises and you aren’t going to deal with it, Post recommends set your boundaries.

“There’s nothing wrong with telling in a very polite and friendly manner,’ I hope you’ll appreciate, but I’ve just wanted to break this holiday from politics,'” Post said.

The post said there are other options to respectfully avoid the topic when you are not willing to open up. According to Post, It may be harder if you’re in a one-on-one talk, but by mentioning something like a recent vacation may gloss over the questions.

“Try to change the topic,” she added. “You can always acknowledge the interest of someone else in a subject without participating in it.” But if the rest of the group enjoys a heated political debate, Post said it might be safer to excuse yourself than push everyone to change the conversation.

“It’s OK for you to just interrupt the discussion to say’ I’m going to get another glass of beer’ or’ I’m going to see if someone wants my kitchen assistance,'” said Post.

If you’re starting to address that presidential candidate’s merits with that cousin you never see, take a minute to focus on why you’re raising the topic before you begin the discussion.

“If you think you have very mixed listeners or you’re the kind of person you enjoy when things get a little more heated or thrilled or debated, I think you just want to ask yourself:’ Is this the group? Is this the location?'” she said.

Post stat that if you can politely raise the issue and respond to the other people views then you might want to introduce someone to the dialogue instead of pushing it on others.

Wright reported, always ask simple and straightforward questions and approach the dialogue with the intention of understanding nature instead of trying to alter the opinion of someone.

“I believe it opens up space to have constructive discussions and not some of these threats or animosity,” she said.

What if things get hot, what do I do?

When anyone continues to follow you and pose an awkward topic, Post said that try to keep emphasizing your limits as respectfully as possible.

“Generally it’s completely personal area, so it’s very natural to get tense,” she said. “I believe it’s difficult for individuals in those instants to maintain some semblance of calm.”

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Shreyas Tanna

Shreyas Tanna

The winner of the title Mr. Pune 2009, Mr. Shreyas Tanna is currently the young, dashing, and dynamic CEO of a market research company called ResearchNReports in Pune. Fondly known as RNR, the company specializes in market research as well as industry analysis, and is closely associated with its parent company Absolute Market Insights (AMI). Mr. Shreyas Tanna began his corporate journey as the Head of Corporate sales & PR at RED Entertainment while pursuing his degree for MMS (Marketing) from the MGM College of Management, Mumbai. After accomplishing the tedious task of balancing his work and education, he further polished his skills in Corporate Sales, Public Relations, Channel Development, Global Client Engagement, Strategic Consulting, and Brand Development by working with HDFC Life and Researchmoz Global Pvt. Ltd. His dedication towards his work has even won him accolades such as the National Level Performer 2013 – HDFC Life and Mr. Research Moz 2015. A disciplined individual with a loving heart, he is often seen taking crisp walks with an engrossed look and a gentle smile within the premises of his company to interact with the various departments. And he will be usually followed by an adorable trail of his beloved trio of Shih Tzu babies proudly known as Gucci, Drake, and Paris. The most enticing thing that you will notice about this content and proud pet parent is his infectious positivity and the firm belief in his eyes, a reflection of his favorite quote, “LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL!”