The simplest and most pleasant thing to do is just to agree not to talk politics. There’s no need to stoke the flames, especially if you know these conversations are likely to teeter on the edge of discomfort and may end up hurting people’s feelings. In today’s particularly charged political climate, even trivial differences in opinion have the potential to turn into a nasty fight. If members of your family can’t deliberate charged topics without losing calm, then stay out of debates. Talk to the key players—the strong personalities—beforehand and request them to tone it down for the evening. Have conversation starters and activities at the ready.
Don’t expect to change minds. Sure, they’re your blood, and you love them, but it ain’t your responsibility to make them understand how wrong they are. Political judgments are value-based, and these values are very hard to change. People have contempt for ideas that they disagree with, and, when presented with information that goes against their beliefs, some people not only snub their challengers but also double down on their original viewpoints (“the backfire effect.”)
Idea for Impact: Bringing together family and friends with different political views can make holiday gatherings painful. Just be realistic about getting past opposing viewpoints and keeping the peace this holiday season.
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