As the much-anticipated 2022 elections draw closer, it’s almost impossible to not bring up politics in every conversation — be it over dinner with family or during a Zoom call with distant relatives.
You should consider yourself lucky if you and your family members share the same political views. But for many Filipinos, such is not the case, and a casual conversation could easily turn into a heated discussion or even a full-blown fight.
Now, before your future emotionally-charged exchanges about the upcoming elections turn into a case of homicide (eek!), check out these tips on how to talk to your family (and friends!) about politics without killing each other:
Do your research and stay updated with current events.
Even before you get another chance to go deep in conversation with anybody whose political views are different from yours, equip yourself with the right information from trustworthy sources not only about your bets, but also about the other parties. Look at the good, the bad, and the ugly in all the candidates, as doing so will give your arguments credibility — and you’ll be assured that you’re not spreading fake news.
Put your research to good use and present them whenever necessary during a conversation. The key to keep things cool is to lay out the facts with humility. If the person you’re talking to asks for proof, be glad to show them pieces of information from your research. And if you notice them giving false information — intentionally or not — let them finish what they wish to say first before giving them the right data or report without the intention of humiliating them.
You hear this a lot, and it might sound wrong if the person who says it is a supporter of a candidate you feel strongly against. Well, newsflash: Being respectful doesn’t necessarily mean you agree with them in any way. By being respectful, you’re essentially giving them more reason to show you respect in return.
Brush off prejudice.
Admit it: You’ve judged others for their thoughts, opinions, and even them as individuals. Truth be told, this cannot be avoided, but do try your best to shrug off preconceived notions and judgments as you enter the discussion. Be open to ideas foreign to you and politely speak up if the other person’s concepts are opposite to what you value.
Mind your language and listen.
Choose your words carefully, especially if you’re talking to elders, who might find conversing with younger people about politics a bit uncomfortable. Also, take the time to listen to the other person. Don’t interrupt or counter-attack while they’re speaking.
Don’t expect to change the other person’s viewpoints overnight.
Most of the time, doing so will only end up in disappointment. Instead, find common ground and discuss what kind of future you want for your country and how your respective bets could possibly help the nation achieve it, without turning it into a who-will-do-it-better competition.
Keep it low.
Maintain your peace no matter what. This could be difficult if the other person is starting to heat up, but if they see you calm and collected, it is likely that they’ll tone themselves back down and carry on with the discussion with less tension. Don’t fight fire with fire.
Say thank you.
Whether your exchange turned out good or bad, say thanks anyway. Why? Because every discourse is an opportunity for you to express your thoughts AND hear out what others have in mind. Expressing gratitude may either touch or baffle whoever you’re talking to, but if you handle the exchange with grace, you can leave the door open for future conversations.
Got anything else to add? Sound them off in the comments!