Handle political discussions the right way

As the election year rolls on, many are discussing their political opinions with friends and family. But how do you handle a potentially stressful and argumentative situation? Mr. Manners shares his tips for surviving the Presidential election while keeping your relationships intact.


  • Never presume to know someone else’s political views. This year perhaps more than ever, traditional political affiliations don’t always align with one’s candidate choices. Let other people bring the subject up first and then proceed carefully and with respect.
  • If you are stuck being around a friend or family member who will not drop the subject of politics (or who disrespects the views of other people), try the 3 D’s: Discourage the offender from continuing; Divert the topic by segueing to another subject; Dismiss the conversation by briefly acknowledging the commenter and then moving on to an unrelated point entirely.
  • Politics are the best way to kill romance before it starts. So stay away from political talk on a first date. There will be plenty of time to hear the other individual’s party affiliations once you get to know each other better.
  • Don’t duke it out on social media. Here more so than anywhere else, you are likely to encounter political beliefs in the raw. Do not engage if you don’t agree. There is no winning here, and a Facebook war can easily break out that will have lasting consequences IRL (in real life). If necessary, hide the individual’s updates until after the election. It’s easier (and kinder) than unfriending.
  • Watch the debates with your older children and stay informed, talking about the issues. Instill in them the importance of tolerance of other viewpoints. And to that end, skip or mute the campaign commercials, particularly the attack ads!

Here are some of the other segments featured on The Rhode Show on Jan. 20, 2016:

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