Comments about certain topics that were declared off limits to preserve relationships.
“Politically, all of my local family is in agreement; my out-of-state family is mixed. (I find myself secretly texting with a teenage grandchild who is politically aligned with me!) I have been asked to avoid politics during our weekly Facetime dinners. As a result, our family relationships are peaceful.”
“The political climate has certainly impacted relationships. I don’t play mediator, but I do try to get along with both sides and encourage each side to keep talking (in my case, my sister and my mom supported opposite candidates). We also have all decided not to discuss politics openly — that helps the most.
We haven’t yet discussed the riot at the Capitol. My plan is to just avoid it.
Regarding Covid-19, it’s political, but less so. We all just jumped in and helped each other.”
“In the senior complex where I live, I chair a small discussion group. All the members disagree politically with this one member, but we are all friends, as well as neighbors. When she is present, we discuss safe subjects like health and local politics. Our friendships remain intact.”
“My husband and I have two male friends, whom we only see a few times a year; they have always been very vocal with their opposing political views from ours, but we let them rant. We never instigate the volatile topics, not in our home when we host, and definitely not in theirs.
When the visit is in their homes, my husband reminds me before we knock on their doors, “Don’t start anything.” My husband and I agree that both these men have shown kindness, care, and love to our families for years that have been commendable, and we will never forget that or let politics get in the way. We enjoy their company and are able to find other topics that make it fun to see them. It seems to have worked for us and we are looking forward to connecting with both of these individuals when we’re allowed out.”
“Thinking about how relationships have been affected in the past year by politics, I must admit that I am saddened to see the extent to which once seemingly strong friend and family relationships have been impacted by volatile arguments and statements of opposing beliefs and values — even resulting, in the long run, with decisions to end the relationship.
My solution typically has been to state that because I value the other person’s place in my life, especially when it is a family member, that political discussions are simply off the table. Though even with that, I still worry that some relationships may never return to be the loving and enjoyable ones they had been.”
“Although I have a few relationships where we’ve either explicitly agreed, or an agreement is implicit, not to discuss our differing politics, I am aware that my respect for those people is diminished. This makes me feel like a bit of a fake for not telling them how I feel about their political choices, but when I think of the consequences of my doing so, I let it go. Sometimes keeping the peace by avoiding certain topics is more important than saying things that won’t change anything anyway.”
“My brother and I have always disagreed about a lot of things, mostly politics. We are known for going at it, and until recently other family members would just ignore us. However, over the past four years our exchanges have become even louder, and longer, and meaner.
My wife and 10-year-old daughter told me that I was changing into a scary person during these arguments with my brother. They sent an email to me and my brother asking us to stop. Knowing that we were scaring my daughter with these conversations convinced my brother and me to call a truce on any discussion about politics, which we’ve done.
Since then, I’ve noticed that we are arguing less about other things as well. I realized I don’t need to win arguments with my brother (which I never really won anyway) if I am scaring my daughter in the process.”