Heated political discussions have only escalated since the election leaving many with heightened anxiety about gathering with family and friends during the holiday season. I share my thoughts on navigating this difficult topic in this Shape.com article. Here are a few highlights:
“If you’re hosting an event, I think it’s totally acceptable for you to say: ‘No politics today,’ says Julie de Azevedo Hanks, PhD, LCSW “Because of the volatility and the intensity of the election, as a host, I think you have every right to set that ground rule.”
Instead of going on the defensive, acknowledge what you think the other person is really getting at. “We all think we’re being really rational about things, but no one is,” says Hanks. “There’s so much emotion driving a lot of these intense responses. I like to think that every criticism is an emotional plea… Hear the emotional piece that they’re wanting you to hear. Because, really, at our core, we all want the same things: to be respected, heard, valued, understood, we want to know that we matter to someone.” Once you can tap into that and acknowledge it, the situation becomes totally diffused, she says.
If someone starts a conversation leading down a road you know will be bumpy, feel free to duck out—just acknowledge their comment first, says Hanks. “No one can engage you in an intense political discussion without your willingness to enter that discussion,” she says. “You can be really respectful and validate or hear them and then change the subject.”
Download free chapter of The Assertiveness Guide for Women