Politics can be a divisive and controversial subject that has ruined more than a few friendships.
But it doesn't have to be!
Disagreements when discussing politics are inevitable. The key is to use those disagreements for a constructive purpose, instead of turning a conversation into a yelling match.
What's The Purpose Of The Conversation?
Before starting a political conversation with a friend, determine its purpose. Is your goal to convince them of something or simply share your views?
If your goal is to simply share your views, you should be ready to "agree to disagree"
If your goal is to convince them that your position is the correct one, it's important to keep the conversation respectful and constructive
Tips To Stay Respectful And Constructive
If there are topics that are sensitive for you, or that you know you do not want to discuss with your friend, make this clear at the outset.
Don't make it personal
Avoid personal attacks or using personal experiences to justify your position. Personal attacks are never constructive and a strong position is rarely built on a personal experience (since everyone experiences politics differently).
Listen to what they have to say
Try to put yourself in your friend's shoes. There is always a reason for someone's beliefs — even beliefs you may consider wrong.
Use respectful language
Language and tone can have a significant impact on the conversation's outcome. Strive to be respectful, even if you disagree with someone — using profanity or yelling will not help advance your position.
Know when it's time to change the subject
If you or your friend are finding it difficult to adhere to any of these tips, it might be wise to change the subject and revisit it once you've both cooled down.
You are arguing that long prison sentences for criminals are a waste of tax money, when your friend becomes angry and yells that "you don't understand because you have never been a victim of crime." What could you do in this situation?
Talking with your friends about politics doesn't have to be confrontational! Political discussions can help you understand each other better — and improve your friendship!