Image Credits: Wesley Noelle

Being a politico is not easy–especially when you have friends that differ in political opinion. Yes, it can be difficult to listen to the other side.  No, it’s not fun arguing with a close friend over what you saw in the news. Is it worth risking a friendship over? No. The best friendships are the ones where you can both be open and honest with each other regardless of opinion.

You can’t expect everyone to think the same way that you do–it’s purely unrealistic. Whether it’s clothing style, areas of interest, taste in food or politics.  It doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to segregate yourself from them. There will always be things that you disagree with people on and that’s just part of life. If you love and respect your friendship, you can afford to be open with one another about politics.

Political opinions and ideologies are continuously evolving whether we admit it or not. Try listening more than you talk. I mean it when I say that you could genuinely learn something from each other. Even if you’re a staunch conservative like me, I appreciate those who can have an open, mature, and productive conversation.

Respect is key. Pro tip: name-calling is never appreciated. Respect one another enough to know that you can have differing opinions and remain friends. Respecting your friendship means that you try to put yourself in your friend’s shoes. Once you at least have a broad understanding of what he or she is thinking, you may feel more at peace. You can have disagreements and still walk away happy knowing that your friendship is intact.

Know when enough is enough. I talk politics almost 100 percent of the time.  Sometimes others have to even force me to step down from my political soapbox. A political conversation can drag on often without a consensus, so it may be best to accept each other’s opinions and move on. That doesn’t mean that you can’t bring up politics or personal point of view; it means that you must know when to stop. Although politics are extremely important, they are not everything. Valuing a friendship over political views can be the right choice.

Sometimes it is the case that your friend doesn’t engage in politics in general. Some people choose to turn their backs and ignore what’s going on altogether. I had a best friend who “hated” politics and I heard her say it 100 times over, but this didn’t stop me. I didn’t force my views on her, but instead showed her how relevant politics were in her everyday life. I would go off on political tangents and watch the news around her. Although she hated me at the time for it, apparently these tactics worked because today she is very involved in politics and has thanked me several times for it. Some friends will refuse to listen, but don’t give up on them.

Polarizing topics such as gay marriage, tax reform, and immigration can lead to extremely heated conversation, but letting this ruin a friendship is unnecessary. Friends who have chosen to terminate friendships over politics may have not been real friends in the first place.

Jennifer D.
Jennifer Duplessie is a senior at Texas A&M University pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a career in political communications incorporating her passion for writing and photography.

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