The presidential debates are looming, and many of us need to be reminded how to avoid turning our friends into enemies. The tips below will help you maintain sanity during the political season and avoid the need to choose between your friends and your candidates.
- Remember every issue has many viewpoints; strive to understand them.
- Listen to what is meant and how you are receiving it rather than how it is stated.
- Ask questions to clarify meanings.
- Focus on the issues, not the person.
- Be respectful; no name-calling.
- Ask yourself whether you have all of the facts. Be open-minded and willing to learn.
- Keep the doors open to areas of common agreement and new ideas.
- Practice patience.
The key to working through all types of disagreements is to strive toward understanding the other person’s perspective. If you understand where they’re coming from and why they believe what they do, then they are more likely to act in kind and recognize your opinion on the issue.
Remember that, unless you destroy the relationship now, your friends will be around long after your candidate’s term has ended. Also, be sure to consider how boring the world would be if we all agreed on everything.
If you want more information, read about our efforts to encourage productive conversations through Pub Dialogues.