Kayla Zilch: How to Keep Your Cool and be Graceful When an Conversation Turns Political

We all know that moment.

A loved one, a family friend, a co-worker or the guy riding next to us on the subway makes an unwarranted, argumentative, politically charged comment.

You can feel the change in your body almost immediately. Your neck tenses up, your cheeks stain red and your breathing moves from your belly to your chest.

How could they say that?! The voice in your head shrieks, and you realize that you have approximately five seconds to decide if, and how, you should respond. Do I challenge them? Leave it be? Would leaving it alone be a silent form of agreement?

Your answer about which path to begin down might be different from mine, but I’ve found myself caught in this moment of tension more times that I can count. Perhaps you can relate.

More often than not, I struggle to balance my desire to love and honor people with my desire to lay bare the facts and take a self-important person on a pilgrimage of the human condition. The process of reaching a middle ground in political conversations often feels like a battle, especially when all the people who share my last name hold views radically different from my own.  Here are a few insights I have found to help the relational journey along when things turn political.

1. Assume the best of people.

If you go into any conversation, political or otherwise, with the assumption that the person you are talking to has the worst of intentions, you will enter the dialogue with bitterness and defensiveness.

While it may have been a word from the other party that got you two talking in the first place, take a step back and reevaluate your point of view. Believe that he or she, like yourself, values the exchanging of perspectives and enter into conversation giving them the benefit of the doubt.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Kayla Zilch