Politics can be a divisive and controversial subject that has ruined more than a few friendships.

Woman jumping and saying

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?

Former President Trump saying

  • 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

Set boundaries

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.

A man exclaiming

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.

A man listening intently

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.

Marge Simpson saying

Quiz

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?

Consider changing the subject

Yell back at your friend

Respond with new evidence

Assert your position louder

Take Action

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!

Two Batmans shaking hands

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This Byte has been authored by

MD

Michel Di Giovanni

New M.A. Graduate