he local elections are yet another diary event that will no doubt see relationships between families, colleagues and friends pushed to the limit. It’s nothing new, while talk of politics has always created tensions (and many still say it should never be discussed at the dinner table), the past few years has seen a polarisation of views like never before. Brexit, Covid, the Black Lives Matter movement, snap elections, US elections – Boris Johnson’s wallpaper. It’s fair to say emotions are running high and we’ve been hit with one divisive topic after another.
However, we don’t have to avoid these topics of conversation altogether to remain on friendly terms with our loved ones – we can learn to navigate such situations without the kind of family fallout we might see in an EastEnders Christmas special. So how do we do it when tensions are running so high?
First of all, if you’re the one instigating the conversation, think about why you want to have the conversation. What is your motive or intention? It’s worth taking a breath and considering this because, as I read on many occasions on social media around the height of the BLM movement, opinions amongst family members and friends were so polarised that many people separated or stopped speaking. If you know that somebody’s view is so vehemently opposed to yours, what is it you’re trying to do? Inform? Educate? Change their strongly held views? Take a moment to think, is it worth it? Are you likely to change hearts and minds, or likely to risk a catastrophic family fallout? If it’s the latter, there’s no right or wrong answer about whether or not to pursue the debate, just think about what’s most important to you.