Odds are you have friends with different political beliefs than you. Under most circumstances that’s a really good thing. However, this is an election year and a pretty bizarre one at that. Surviving the election is possible, but it will take a little effort if you want to remain friendly after the election is over. No doubt you’ve probably seen people on social media talk about how they had to unfriend someone who supported the opposing candidate. All to often, especially in this elections cycle it seems, has this been happening. It doesn’t have to. You can be friends with people who hold different beliefs, and it doesn’t just apply to politics, this works for religion and any other deeply held ideologies.

Surviving the Election

We’re all Different – If you can remind yourself that we’re all different you’ll go a long way to surviving the election. Not everyone is going to agree with you (and you’re not going to agree with everyone else), and that’s ok. Differences are what make friendships interesting and a means to learning new things.

You’re Not Going to Change Their Mind – Most people, by the time they declare their political allegiance to a candidate are not considering switching candidates. No amount of arguing is going to change that so don’t even bother.

Stop with the Name Calling Already – If you read posts on social media you know that by about the 10th comment discussion has devolved into name calling. When that happens the discussion is over. If you insist on discussing politics, especially online, be prepared to keep the discussion on track and feel free to delete or otherwise guide the discussion. Acting like children is no way to get your point across. If you can’t have a respectful discussion then don’t bother starting it.

Listen – What a novel idea! If you’re interested in maintaining your relationships during the election season, then you mind find it helpful to listen to the opposing views of your friends and family. These are presumably people you hold high regard, you never know they might enlighten you on some of the issues.

Walk Away – Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, it’s just too difficult to discuss opposing political beliefs with friends and family. It’s okay to walk away from a heated discussion. Simply steer the conversation to a less explosive topic.