Ask Andy: Navigating political differences in relationships


Dear Andy,


Everything is so politically charged these days. What were once safe conversation topics aren’t so safe any more. I hate confrontation and debate. How do I handle political differences in my personal life?


Sincerely,

Don’t Want to Argue

Dear Don’t Want to Argue,

Relationships on their own can be difficult in general to navigate with everything we have on our plates today with the pandemic and inflation, but when you throw in the volatile relationship between the Democratic and Republican parties, it then can become its own dynamic. You’ve posed a great question. How do we handle this aspect of the relationship without it getting personal?

We all know that opposites attract, and political differences in a relationship are about as opposite as you can get. Approach this bump in your relationship the same way you do anything else: First and foremost, be honest with each other and maintain your mutual respect. Listen to your partner or friend’s view and try and understand their viewpoint. You don’t have to agree; just listen and try and understand. Try and find common ground—something you both agree needs to be changed or worked on by both parties. Finding shared values will go a long way to understanding why you partner feels the way they do.

Do not criticize. Use “I” statements, not “you” statements, during conversations.

Talk about your differences in a relaxed setting but no drinking since alcohol can intensify negative feelings. Also, don’t go into the conversation thinking you are going to change the other person’s mind. More than likely, you won’t be able to do that, but you can have in depth discussion and possibly learn something you didn’t know about the other political side and vice versa.

Always respect the other party’s opinion, even when it’s different from yours, and always defend their opinion against others when they lash out at your person, even when you don’t agree.

Finally, trust your partner to know what’s best for themselves, even when it’s not what you would choose. Trust is the key to solving anything in a relationship, even political difference.

Relationships are hard, but we don’t have to make them harder. Trust that you know your loved one, trust that they know you, and try to work toward a common goal.

As always, I, Andy, am here to help with your everyday problems. Navigating personal relationships can be taxing, especially to your own mental health. Just remember to stay true to yourself and most things will work out for the best.

If you want honest advice to any problem, issue, or question, let me help. I’m a local resident with a sociology degree from Georgia Southern. Send your problems to askandy571@gmail.com and I will help you solve them!

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