Now more than ever tensions run high if your conversation takes a turn the political on a date. At times, I have lifted my hands in the air and cried “CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG!?”, but If Bill Clinton and George W. Bush can play nice, theoretically it will be even easier with someone who has the potential to be the love of your life. While I will remain neutral and keep my own opinions away from this post, I thought it timely to provide some helpful strategies for all of you-regardless of the boxes you check on the ballot this November.
Let’s talk about the elephant (and the donkey) in the room, shall we?
Firstly, take a moment to really think about how big of a role politics really play in your life and if being in a relationship with someone who belongs to a different political party would really make a difference to you. Personally, I had a wonderful friendship and long distance relationship with a man who served in the navy for nine years. In that time we developed political beliefs that were farther away than the actual oceans that were physically between us. So we chose not to talk about it-and our relationship was grand while it lasted. We both agreed that we could respect each other’s beliefs support one another’s career choices. Which is fundamental in a relationship, anyway. If you know yourself enough to recognize that you could never “sleep with the enemy”, then you should mention your viewpoint in your online profile or discuss this with your match maker to avoid disappointment.
In the event that you are caught by surprise on your date, you will need to be prepared on how to avoid getting into a heated debate. It is very easy to get sucked into trying to change the view point of the other person when you discover that you don’t see eye to eye. Arguments are what cause relationships to fail, so why on earth would you try to create a relationship with a fight!? While your differences in opinion could be too great to pursue a relationship, keep in mind that you will do a better job of spoiling the entire evening than changing the other person’s view point if you get too passionate (not just about politics, either. Slow down there, Tiger!). A better approach when you discover that you don’t agree with the person is to fight the urge to counter attack and instead, ask a question such as
“Are you off your rocker!?” “Interesting point. What was it that inspired your opinion on that?” You may learn something new or the person could share something personal with you that can create a bond, or at the very least, set the course of conversation on to a different subject.
Keeping the energy light, friendly, and humorous should be at the forefront of your mind no matter what topics you find yourselves engaged in. While the issues at hand are very serious, there is plenty to laugh about too. For example, can we all agree that Big Bird should keep his job? I mean, Oscar the Grouch lives in a garbage can as it is, and I think we all know that Snuffleupagus is lazy, and frankly, a bit of a bummer to be around. Sesame Street needs high morale, and that elephant isn’t helping. See? Silly! Funny!
Political views are deeply personal for some, so be conscientious in how you frame your opinions. For instance, if you blurt out “If you live in America, you need to learn to speak English!” your outburst could be perceived as abrasive and insensitive, while saying “I believe that to be a citizen, individuals should be proficient in the language spoken in that country.” is more likely to be perceived as an intellectual approach to the subject. When you offend someone, you will have to dig yourself out of a hole to get back in their good graces. If you find yourself in the hot seat, crack a joke STAT! “Maybe I should call the waiter over to get some water to wash down my foot” or “Sorry, that was a direct quote from Rush Limbaugh…shoulda known better!” Don’t let your date take you too seriously, and be sure to apologize for the gaffe.