A ProperGirl's Guide: Discussing Politics Without Ruining Relationships

A well-balanced woman is inspired to gather insight, share stories and be passionate about her convictions. However, given today's political landscape, such passion and conviction can have adverse effects on relationships.

A Proper Girl should know how to navigate these situations respectfully and still contribute to the conversation, which is why we've come up with a guide to discussing politics without putting your relationships at risk.

MAKE SURE YOU UNDERSTAND THE FACTS

In November 2016, Stanford University conducted a study that determined many students in the U.S. cannot tell the difference between real news and fake propaganda.

If you're in doubt about whether an article is false or contains false elements, take a look at FactCheck.org, PolitiFact or The Washington Post's Fact Checker. They provide information that will help you stay informed on the real news, so you will be armed with facts when engaging in political discussions.

REMAIN CALM, and RATIONAL

Logging on to any social media account nowadays will have your head spinning in no time. To discuss politics without ruining relationships you should:

1. Take a Look at the Big Picture - Take a deep breath and step back when being confronted with opposing views. What social, economic or emotional state are these individuals in that could cause them to feel this way?

2. Listen - Fight the urge to automatically dispute claims that don't fall in line with your own. Listening prevents frustration on both sides and allows you to stay calm enough to avoid irrational statements made out of anger.

3. Remember, It's OK to Disagree - However, disagreeing does not always need to take shape in an argument. If you truly value the relationship, you will respect the person enough to respect their values and opinions.

CHOOSE YOUR BATTLES WISELY

It is important to differentiate between a conversation with someone willing to listen and be respectfully receptive to your opinions, and a conversation with someone who only wants to argue. Engaging in a conversation with someone from the latter group will leave you mentally exhausted and does not get you anywhere.

ALTERNATIVE WAYS TO ENGAGE IN POLITICS 

Besides voting and engaging in discussions on social media, you can contribute to your political party's online campaign, participate in a civil society, volunteer for event causes that align with your views, or even run for office yourself!

All of these forms of political participation allow you to express your views and become involved in a cause that matters, all while being surrounded by people who support the same ideals.

SOCIAL MEDIA ETIQUETTE RELATED to POLITICAL DISCUSSIONS

If you do choose to engage in political discussions on social media, remember to adhere to certain rules regarding etiquette.

1. Do not engage in conversation with people who are consistently disrespectful toward a certain race, religion, sex or belief in general. These people are only looking to argue (see the point above).

2. Be patient with people who are struggling to understand political process, or in some cases, the real facts. Respectfully guide them to legitimate news sources, and help them to understand without losing your cool.

3. Write intelligently and respectfully. The more you have researched the facts, the better you can form a well-rounded, articulate opinion that is not filled with name-calling and radical ideas.

THE BIG PICTURE 

However you choose to engage in politics or political discussions, remember that, now more than ever, people must remain informed, respectful and understanding of other's differences.

We'll leave you with a quote from Maya Angelou that sums it all up:

"We can learn to see each other and see ourselves in each other and recognize that human beings are more alike than we are unalike."