Talking to people who have diametrically different political views than yours. Poll

Do you find it difficult to relate to people or even speak to people whose political views are diametrically opposed to yours? I have close personal friends who are republican, they are planning on voting for McCain [most likely] and I have no problem talking to them as an Obama supporter. I chide them from time to time, and they reciprocate with chiding me back. No big deal.

I don’t openly talk to people about my political views, however, when asked I will make light conversation. I was recently parked at a supermarket - I came out to my car after doing some grocery shopping and there was a man and a woman exiting their car - McCain Palin stickers on their car…several of them. they looked at my car with a large Obama sticker on the back and then looked at me as I popped the trunk. I said, hello…and she walked right past me as if I didn’t even exist.

Could have been anything, maybe a bad day…or maybe she was pissed I was supporting a different candidate than she? I dunno. It’s conjecture really talking about it now, but it got me thinking.

How do you feel when talking or interacting with someone who has very different political views to yours? Ever have a confrontation, negative or positive?

Yes, I try to avoid politics or just nod and “agree.” You’re really not going to change their mind from Democrat to Republican values, or vice versa. Just like religion, you probably won’t talk anyone into believing or not believing in god.

I must confess that, although I am not at all proud of it, I have a very difficult time interacting socially with people whose views differ from mine. I can very easily imagine myself snubbing someone in a parking lot for having the wrong bumpersticker. In my defense I will say that I am working hard to change this aspect of my personality, and I realize this is not really about politics so much as about my neurotic character structure.

I don’t have any Republican friends and frankly find it very difficult to imagine voluntarily socializing with a known conservative. I do have some GOP in my extended family and we get along well enough, as long as a strict “no remotely political conversations” rule is observed.

Obviously this is a real problem, as I would like to be more politically engaged and involved in discussions, but I can’t really effectively advocate for my point of view as long as I am going into a sputtering rage whenever opposing views are expressed. It is somewhat better online where I can take time to calm down before responding, but I still usually regret it when I peek into GD, because I get so upset and take a long time to get over it.

I suppose you just touched on another question. Why is politics treated as similar to religion - in terms of talking about it in public? Is it some sort of core human value with some transpersonal significance?

Because people tend to have strong emotional opinions on it, and they will also judge you based on your political views.

My MIL is a great person and we get along but she is from Canada and freaks if she hears about a shooting anywhere on the news. She knows that my father was a gun dealer when I was growing up and that I like to shoot myself but she breaks away from that knowledge and starts her standard lecture. I just nod my head.

I avoid discussing politics and/or religion with almost everyone. Nothing good seems to come of it, and much judging of me ensues.

I even generally avoid it here, behind the mostly anonymous and consequence-free environment here. You post something about a hot-button topic like abortion or gun control and suddenly you’ve got a 10 page thread.

I think the <other political party> are nuts, same planet different worlds. That doesn’t mean that most of them aren’t nice people, just misguided. :wink:

My parents political opinions are diametrically opposed from mine, as well as a few in-laws and friends. Politics are mostly avoided with those people, but it’s much easier to talk with someone who disagrees with me over economic issues as opposed to social ones.

I will say that it boggles my mind why some people vote the way they do, but I try not to judge them as bad people right off the bat. I have been known to scowl at McCain stickers and yard signs.

I have an online friend who is as far to one side of the spectrum as I am on the other. When it comes to debates about highly charged political and religious issues, I would rather discuss it with her than with any of my other online friends, many of whom rest on the same side as me. However, this friend is the most eloquent, consistent, and thorough of all of them. She helps me understand the “other side” better than anybody else has.

In general, however, I do find it difficult to talk to people on the other side of the spectrum. When talking to people on my side, we have common denominator values that we agree on, that make the discussion much more simple and easy to follow. Talking to most people on the other side requires much more thorough explanation and analysis of one’s own value system, which many people (including me) find difficult to articulate. I’ve tried discussing political issues with my other-side friends before, rarely do we really get anywhere. We can associate as friends just fine though.

I’m most comfortable with people who agree with my politics, but will occasionally discuss/debate with people who hold different (i.e. wrong :cool: ) views. One of my best friends from law school calls himself a Democrat but is pretty much a conservative Republican in many ways. We’ve had some pretty pointed discussions, but by and large have found a way to “disagree without being disagreeable.” As soon as one of us starts getting hot under the collar, the other can usually sense it and ease the tension with a joke, and then maybe change the subject. With strangers or recent acquaintances, I prefer to find common ground where I can, or in putting forward my own views, at least concede where the other person makes a good point.

I actually wish I were more comfortable mixing it up with people holding diametrically-opposed views. Ideally, we’d all be doing this all the time, and would thereby have a healthier democracy. Often nowadays, as a society, it seems we’re all either hanging out with like-minded people, or screaming at each other.

I think “diametrically” is a bit too strong of a word to describe a Democrat not wanting to socialize with a Republican and vice versa. It’s not even possible for me, though, since I am moderate fiscally, foreign policy, and (mostly) socially.

But yes, socially, I do find it uncomfortable to associate with those in the most socially conservative %20 of the social bracket, and I guess if I ran into a lot of the most socially liberal %5 I wouldn’t feel comfortable associating with them either. But I can disagree with most people on fiscal and foreign policy as long as they don’t take the position that those that disagree with them are fascists or commies.

Mostly I’m about the same. In general I’m perfectly happy talking politics or religion with friends and acquaintances. I’m usually pretty respectful and try to see the other side, so it has never been a major issue.

However, I should note that while I have some somewhat conservative friends almost all of them are also more or less social liberals/libertarians. A couple are what might be called “social moderates” ( say for example the sort of folks that are anti-gay marriage, but pro-civil union ). But none are truly hardcore social conservatives.

I wouldn’t say I couldn’t be friends with a socially conservative person - I expect I could. But it’s possible I might be more inclined to censor my political views around such a person.

I don’t mind with some friends. We can agree to disagree and keep it civil.

One of my clients recently started in on Obama. She complained that he bought an airplane and removed the US flag from the plane and replaced it with his own logo. I hadn’t heard this story, so all I could say was, “Well, I guess it’s his plane and he can do what he wants with it.”

We dropped it after that, but it was awkward.

Also because a lot of political belief is based on faith, not necessarily regard to the facts.

That’s very true.

I’d be more inclined to say people rely on faith that they’ve interpreted the facts correctly.

The distinction for me is not conservative vs. liberal; it is thoughtful vs. automatic.

We have been friends with a couple for almost thirty years now. He is about as far to the left as I am to the right. But his positions are well thought thru, and he is quite a smart guy. I can discuss and disagree, but neither of us gets offended, because we make an effort to be respectful.

That’s not true of all my friends. We sort of had to make a rule that we would not mention anything political around another, mutual friend who was part of the same group of friends, because he could not be respectful. And the funny thing was, he was a good deal more liberal than either of us.

The Lovely and Talented Mrs. Shodan is pro-life, and I am not. And we don’t get into arguments over that either, and also don’t have to avoid the topic. I know her reasons, they are reasonable (although I remain unconvinced), and we seem to be able to co-exist nonetheless.

Of course, she’s got those blue eyes…


Mrs. Phlosphr has something in common with your wife, and we co-exist quite nicely most of the time. Communication is the key.

  1. Respect
  2. Do not assume.
  3. Respect
  4. Have a beer together.
  5. Respect
  6. Find some other common interest.
  7. Respect

Bumperstickers IMHO invites open talk about political views; same with religious bumperstickers. I just don’t bother putting them on my car so I’m a clean slate to anybody and open for discussion about virtually anything. I do remember slapping a Pink Floyd Prism sticker on my 1982 white Pontiac Sunbird…that’s the last bumpersticker I ever put on my car.