Politics can evoke strife, anxiety and stress amongst friends and family members that’s creating a divide that can be heartbreaking. There’s no one answer for resolve, but there are strategies in finding a balance that doesn’t make you want to pull your hair. We also look at how maintaining our mental wellness may also mean distancing ourself or detaching from a toxic relationship. Pausing the political pandemonium isn’t easy, but it is possible.
Be passionate. But in the passion and the things we hold near and dear to our hearts, be kind. Somewhere down the line many of us have lost the ability to keep our cool or remain civil when political issues are tossed in the mix. There are issues to be passionate about. There are words and statements made by others that can make you cringe or want to go postal. So with lots of passion, intensity and discussion, where do we go from here?
It’s Political Pandemonium
Why yes it is. I also know that there are partners who are Democrat and Republican. There are siblings, parents and best friends with opposing party views. Discussion can heat up quickly. We have friendships ending and parents and children barely speaking. Whether it be immigration, women’s rights, thwarting terrorism or racism there’s a whole lot brimming and often simmering over.
So where do we go from here? I’ve put together a few tips that may (or may not) assist in salvaging relationships and sanity.
And here we go…
Social Media. You have a parent, sibling or friend who is posting information that is making your blood boil and your toxicity odometer is through the roof? When we make an effort to inform or converse via social media our words and intent can easily be construed and misinterpreted. We can misinterpret and we can be misinterpreted. Politics and social media can have us going in circles. It’s a tough one. In order to preserve sanity and an ongoing relationship, there’s nothing wrong with opting to hide updates or posts made by an individual. You can also opt to unfriend or no longer follow someone. Most of the time they may not notice. If they do, you are free to converse that you care about them, but in an effort to preserve what you have keeping politics separate is in order.
The realm of social media is where many feel a disagreement festering, but it gives little room for actual personal dialogue. We may be more digitally connected than ever before, but we’ve lost the personal connection that being face to face or on the phone provides. It’s a challenge that has evoked tremendous angst and discord when it comes to politics.
Resonate compassion and kindness
Be kind. On social media, in person or on the phone may we seek to be kind. It is easy to respond heatedly or to say things without thinking first. Take the higher road. This mindset is one I convey to others who I believe may struggle with this and create angst and frustration on my part. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t. When the gloves come off it leads to the next step.
But I want to chat
Ok. Awesome. Politics and the current and future of our state of our country burns deeply within you. Timing and environment can impact how discussions can go. The five minutes break in a meeting? Not ideal. How about when in the car weaving through traffic and on your way to drop a kid off at practice? Probably not the best setting either. Etching out an appropriate time that fosters discussion vs a reactive comment or laying the groundwork for political jabs will hold two different outcomes (most of the time). If you value a relationship and the other person values your relationship, set ground rules for when chat is and isn’t ok.
The conversion train
A great way to dodge a heap of the political craziness is making an intentional effort to not try and convert that friend, sibling or significant other to your political choice. When we try to convert (or someone is trying to convert us), there is very little listening or absorbing going on. People go on the defense. Instead, when we aspire for actual discussion and hold these expectations with others conversation can, sometimes, go in a positive direction. This takes discipline, patience and dialogue about the difference between discussion and intentional conversion. This works for some and isn’t an option for others.
Pausing the Political Pandemonium…for real
I care about you. I respect you. Our relationship is important to me. However you feel you need to fill in the blank is up to you. The bottom line? When we are in person, on the phone or texting politics is no longer allowed to be brought in at any point. Make it clear and allow consequences to be at stake. It may be not talking for a few days or not responding to a text for an allotted time.
This may be a difficult transition, but it’s possible. Be patient, but be assertive. We’re in a political pandemonium free zone. Right here. Right now. Stand your ground. Side comments are not allowed. Political sarcasm is off limits. Both parties must adhere to this stance and it may provide the saving component for getting through the next few months with a still intact relationship.
Gratitude for freedom
In the midst of the crazy political pandemonium may we never forget we have the freedom to chat, banter and to disagree. We have a freedom that too often we take for granted. A freedom that does not exist in every country around the world. Be thankful. Gratitude can often ease the political discord. Reflecting on what we have the ability to express is significant. May we never forget that.
My hope is that our stance in how we opt to delve into politics with friends and family will keep our mental wellness as highest priority, keep kindness intact and allow us the ability to convey our passions without malice. It’s a big world and our passions and voice will always hold significance. Peace, love and politics…