Election Tension: When Families Flare Up with Politics | Rice Psychology

Election Tension: When Families Flare Up with Politics

 

Political Discussions Within Families | Rice Psychology Group in Tampa, FLThe political landscape of 2018 has been incredibly contentious, to say the least. Click To TweetConsider the following story as it relates to this week’s topic.

Since I was a kid, I’ve taken pride in spending time with my entire family. I’m talking aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins! That is, unless elections are on the horizon. I try to keep my political opinions to myself, but it’s getting increasingly difficult to ignore the loud and heated arguments my family members have lately. It’s bothering me to the point where I’d rather not go to our family gatherings because it’s guaranteed that a political argument will ensue.

The political landscape of 2018 has been incredibly contentious, to say the least. It has forced us, as a nation, to have conversations about difficult topics, take sides and frequently butt heads with others. As mid-term elections approach, sharing opinions and information is more intense than ever.

How can we safeguard our friendships and bonds with family from political disagreements? Our licensed mental health counselors and psychologists in Tampa want to share some thoughts about this very important topic. 

How can we safeguard our friendships and bonds with family from political disagreements? Click To Tweet

The Party Defense

Political Discussions Within Families | Rice Psychology Group in Tampa, FL

Unfortunately, too many political discussions drift towards the unreasonable. Click To TweetUnfortunately, too many political discussions drift towards the unreasonable. Often, these discussions center around defending one’s political party and disparaging anyone who opposes. This frequently makes it impossible to have a constructive and levelheaded conversation.

As you can imagine and have probably witnessed, politics can bring out the worst in people. According to political scientists Shanto Iyengar of Stanford University and Sean Westwood of Princeton University, this is quite common and known as the “outparty animus.” As prevalent as it is, it’s still a difficult pill to swallow when it affects your relationships with friends and family.

As you can imagine and have probably witnessed, politics can bring out the worst in people. Click To Tweet

Respect Matters

Political Discussions Within Families | Rice Psychology Group in Tampa, FL

If you find yourself in a political conversation where the other person is steadily pressing their opinion on you, it may be a good idea to change the topic. Especially if it is hard to agree on neutral or common ground.

However, if the topic is unavoidable, remember that a decent and civil conversation is still possible! Explore different views on the issue and find talking points where you see eye-to-eye. A wise college student recently shared with me that when people have significant differences and conversations get heated, the goal can be to “agree to understand” instead of agreeing to disagree.

Find the Positives

Political Discussions Within Families | Rice Psychology Group in Tampa, FL

A circle of friends with different opinions can bring new and intriguing ideas to the table. Click To TweetAccording to Can Friendships Be Bipartisan?, a 2011 Boston College study, many liberals and conservatives are at ease with bipartisanship amongst friends. A circle of friends with different opinions can bring new and intriguing ideas to the table. Embrace the opportunity to challenge your thinking, and how better can this be than surrounded in the safe environment of friends?

Friends First

Political Discussions Within Families | Rice Psychology Group in Tampa, FL

Today’s politics are complex and oftentimes ugly, but relationships with family and friends are too valuable to allow politics to derail them. After all, do you value your political opinion more than your friendships or your relationship with a sibling or great uncle? Rice Psychology Group can help guide you in finding common ground with those closest to you in an effective way. Have questions? Reach out to our licensed mental health counselors and psychologists in Tampa today.

About Rice Psychology

Rice Psychology Group is home to a team of psychologists who work tirelessly to help adults, adolescents and children deal with their issues. Whether you’re currently dealing with depression, going through a divorce or fighting an issue you just can’t understand, know that our Tampa psychologists are here to help.

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