Peace and conflict: Talking politics and navigating tension over the holidays

Nov 10, 2020, 10:35 AM | Updated: May 15, 2021, 3:19 pm
Many people say they're looking for guidance when it comes to discussing current events with family...
Many people say they're looking for guidance when it comes to discussing current events with family, friends and neighbors. (IMAGE: KSL Newsradio, Adobe Stock)
(IMAGE: KSL Newsradio, Adobe Stock)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — With political tension still in the air and the holidays fast approaching, many people are looking for guidance when it comes to discussing politics and current events with their family, friends and neighbors. Luckily, the University of Utah’s Peace & Conflict Club has some tips that can help promote civility over the next handful of weeks. 

Determine your “non-starters”

Most would agree that the holiday season can be stressful by itself. Now, throw in a pandemic and a tightly contested presidential election, and you’ve got a recipe for a Thanksgiving or Christmas that feels like anything but a vacation.

We asked the Peace & Conflict Club at the U the following:

What would be some tips for having civil conversations with friends & family who may not agree politically?

Their answer ⬇️

Posted by The University of Utah on Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Not to worry though, Cindy Keele, with the University of Utah’s Peace and Conflict Club, has a couple of easy rules to follow. First, take a moment to self-reflect and determine your non-starters. Those are the things you know you won’t be able to discuss with other people.

“If you feel like you can’t have a calm and decent conversation with someone, then yeah, maybe avoid it,” she says.

Bring down the volume to restore peace

According to Keele, it’s important to remember that no one wins these arguments. You aren’t trying to change someone’s mind and this isn’t debate club (there’s no judge handing out points as the pie is served), so maybe change your mindset.

“Going into conversations not to debate, but to understand,” Keele says.

If things do get heated, remember that most people are reactionary by nature.

“People aren’t going to keep yelling if you’re talking at a normal voice, they’ll match your tone,” she explains.

As a last resort, if you can’t settle things down, just remove yourself from the situation. You’d rather be remembered as the person who stepped outside and missed the third quarter, instead of saying something you’ll regret.

Peace and conflict: Talking politics and navigating tension over the holidays



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Peace and conflict: Talking politics and navigating tension over the holidays