Discussing politics is typically considered something to avoid, since these conversations can easily become heated. Whether you’re at work or with family or friends, you might find yourself having to deal with this topic. If you’ve ever found yourself in an exasperating political argument with a person in recovery during the “meeting after the meeting” or on social media such as Facebook, you can appreciate the real need for Tradition Ten, the AA Tradition to avoid outside issues such as religion and politics. However, a definitive understanding of just what constitutes an outside issue is not always easy to agree on or follow. How can you make sure you avoid the hate that often goes along with political discussions when people don’t see eye to eye? Keep the following tips in mind for these kinds of conversations.
Choose Your Words Carefully
Certain kinds of statements can come across as offensive or harmful to others when you’re discussing your political opinions. If you’re going to contribute to a political discussion with a co-worker or loved one, choose the words you use carefully. Stating your opinions or views in a tactful and respectful way helps avoid turning the discussion into a tense one.
Be an Active Listener
When you’re in a conversation with someone at work or in your personal life, practice being an active listener if political topics come up. This involves giving the other person your full, undivided attention and focusing on what they’re saying. Active listening during a political conversation can help you avoid tuning the other person out and letting your emotions get the best of you while thinking of a response. Pay close attention to what the other person is saying, and respond in a thoughtful and polite way.
Knowing more about political topics through research and education can help you make informed statements during these kinds of discussions. When you learn more about a variety of political views and topics, you’ll be able to provide factual information. Just make sure that you stay calm when offering facts or other information to someone who doesn’t share the same views as you.
Change the Topic
You don’t have to continue talking about politics if the conversation is getting heated or uncomfortable. Instead, you can change the subject or even let the other person know that you don’t want to talk about the topic anymore. If the other person keeps discussing political matters, you can also politely excuse yourself from the conversation. This helps prevent the discussion from getting stressful for you.
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