By Zachary Baker–

From a global pandemic to a divisive election, the past year has been one of major conflict.

As students return home to their families for the holidays, it will be almost impossible to avoid discussing these topics with family. When sitting at the dinner table with your family this holiday season, how should you handle political conversations and conflicts that are likely to occur? 

One of the most important ways to handle any type of political conversation with anyone is to be respectful and understanding. If you have no desire to lose a family member over a political discussion, then it is important to respect that there is a difference in opinion. 

The way to do this is to change how you talk about politics. 

In a Huffington Post article, author Brittany Wong refers to Sean Davis, a family therapist. 

Wong said, “he usually prefers to be clear and direct about what he believes and why when talking politics. To that end, he uses nonconfrontational “I” statements.” 

This is a perfect opportunity to allow for a discussion and to try to change someone’s mind. 

Many of us will understand that it may not be that easy when we’re living in a time of misinformation– a time where facts aren’t completely agreed upon. It may be difficult for us to stand for misinformation being spread and will jump up to correct it, but that will inevitably cause problems and the other person may not be willing to listen. 

The best way to handle this is to avoid talking about the situation entirely. If a family member has no interest in changing their mind, then arguing about the topic with them won’t make that happen. 

So, it is almost universally better to avoid the topic or find some type of common ground to work from. While it seems defeatist to just give up if the other person isn’t willing to listen to reason, it’s about attempting to find a better way to approach the topic if it is that important to you.

Discussing politics with your family is not easy. Respecting that conversations are often about opinions and framing your stance as such will keep things civil. If a family member is spreading false information and using incorrect facts during the conversation, then it is better to stop having the conversation. This will be a difficult time for everyone, but through civility and a willingness to walk away, many of us could survive without conflict this upcoming holiday season.

File Graphic//The Louisville Cardinal