How to Have Political Discussions, Not Arguments

By: Eleina Salgia

Often times, we encounter people, even close friends, that hold different political views. When I was younger, I would try to avoid political discussions, but as you get older, I found that it is an unavoidable topic. I realize now that it is important to have these discussions, but there is a certain way to go about them. The most important thing to remember is that everyone is entitled to their own opinions and does not have to agree with you. Below I have made a list of tips to remember when having these crucial conversations.

Keep your tone level

–  Your point does not come across better if you get louder, it only makes people want to stop listening to you.

Listen

–  Sharing your input in important, but it is equally crucial to listen to others. If you want to be listened to, listen to others.  

Be open minded

–  Consider their point of view. You do not have to agree with them, but you should not automatically shut them down.

Have these conversations in person

–  Try to avoid having these conversations through text messages. It is easy to misinterpret someone’s words and find them to be more aggressive.

–  People are not always aware of how their tone comes across when they are texting.

–  It is hard to understand the impact one’s words have on someone when you are not face to face with them, or when you cannot hear their voice.

Do not start a conversation with the intent of changing one’s thoughts

–  Just like you, other people hold strong beliefs. It is not wise to think that people will change their beliefs from one conversation. Going into conversations like this may leave you disappointed.

Be Careful

–  Be sure to not offend anyone

–  This can be hard, because it is difficult to know what someone feels very strong about

Keep your friendships

–  It is important to stay friends with people, even if they have different perspectives.

–  If you feel uncomfortable, switch topics or find something you both agree on.

Remember, everyone has their own opinions, and has the freedom to voice their opinions. It is easy to say and think you are right, but this mindset is not beneficial. It is important to see from both sides during these discussions.