What can you do if your family’s political views are the complete and total opposite of your own? Could be a tricky situation, right? Let’s see…
Though political ideals tend to run in families, there are cases such as my own in which one’s views just don’t match with those of their family. Though this won’t tear a family apart in most cases, it can cause tension at family gatherings or at the dinner table. Here are a few tips I’ve discovered from my personal experiences as a flaming liberal atheist in a hardcore conservative Christian family.
1. Make your opinions clear but don’t try to change theirs: You don’t expect them to change your feelings about the matter, do you? This makes it highly unlikely that you’ll change their minds either. State your feelings on a topic and move on, rather than pushing your beliefs on them.
2. Avoid religion: If your religious views are different, the best thing you can do is to avoid the topic altogether. In my case, when we gather around to pray before dinner, I bow my head but I don’t actually pray, because that’s not my belief. Respect the beliefs of your family, but do NOT attempt conversion. That can only end in an emotional mess.
3. Respect their opinions and ideals: Everyone feels a little differently when it comes to politics, and no two politicos are alike. If you disagree, don’t attack. Nod your head, respect the thought they’ve put into their logic, no matter how twisted, and move along.
4. Leave the room: If a debate among family members becomes heated, you’d best leave the room and mingle elsewhere. Besides, there’s got to be somebody in your family who you can see eye to eye with, right?
5. Shove that turkey in your mouth and keep quiet: This works well around holidays such as Thanksgiving, where food is in abundance. Stuff your face, so you’ve got an excuse not to talk.
6. Avoid family: This isn’t recommended. Despite my family’s drastically different views of the world, I still love them. See your family for who they are and not what they believe. This may seem difficult, but it’s vastly better than ignoring your family altogether.
Using these simple and easy tips, it is my most sincere hope that your family gatherings can be a more pleasant experience. Though you may, on occasion, feel alienated if you are alone among a crowd of conservatives or liberals, depending on your own stance, remember that no matter what, your family will love you. At least, I would hope that is the case.