Politics are a tricky subject for everyone, even if you agree with the person you’re talking to—so having a discrepancy between you and someone you love can be heartbreaking. Even if you’ve spent your whole life feeling one way about politics, you may notice that, throughout college, your feelings about government and economics change—maybe even a lot. Once you’ve figured out where you stand in these matters, if you notice that your views suddenly seem to clash with your family’s (or they have all along), here’s how to deal:
Don’t argue just for the sake of argument.
Some people are the argumentative type—trust me, I get it. But, when it comes to loved ones, playing the devil’s advocate can be detrimental to your relationship. If the conversation arises, and you want to hold a healthy, informed debate with your family about the issues at hand, then by all means, do it! Just try to avoid outright arguing whenever possible—it can only lead to hurt feelings and tense family gatherings.
Hear them out.
Everyone has a reason that they think the way that they do, and you have to accept that other people aren’t going to always going to see it your way. That said, when you find yourself in a disagreement, make sure you hear your loved one for what they have to say. Try not to talk over them or make the conversation more argumentative than it has to be—you can agree to disagree, while still listening to their side of the story. Keep in mind that you should be able to expect the same courtesy from your family, as well!
Hold back your judgments.
It’s easy to categorize all Republicans one way and all Democrats another, but sometimes it’s good to step back and realize that not all people are the same. In fact, most Americans usually have some beliefs that align with one political party, and other beliefs that align with the other—there’s no one-size-fits-all package. With that in mind, try not to group your family members into stereotypical categories or assume that they don’t know what they’re talking about just because they don’t agree with you. You’re all family—you just have a different way of looking at things.
Keep an open mind.
Remember, you’ll continue changing your entire life, so just because you agree with one political party now, doesn’t mean that you still will even a week or a month from now. Carefully listen to what others have to say about the issues you care about, and make educated decisions about what you believe. You should never feel obligated to think a certain way, whether you used to or not—so don’t accept pressure from your family or your past self.
It can be difficult to handle a difference in opinion between you and your family members, especially if your views have recently changed or evolved. Regardless, try to keep in mind that you all are family - no matter how you feel about certain issues, try your best to keep those matters aside and love your family for what really counts.