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



We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Mental Health

These photos of Legacy Village in St. George, Utah, show zero land dedicated to real grass. It incl...

Emma Penrod, Great Salt Lake Collaborative

Fixing the lake could pave the way to solving Utah’s mental health crisis

A more holistic approach to urban design may in fact transform our entire life for the better — particularly with respect to our mental health.

13 hours ago

people balance junk food with healthy food...

Michelle Lee

Lifestyle changes vs. medication

Let's Get Moving Host Maria Shilaos spoke with Pharmaceutical Insider Troy Duell to learn how to make simple but healthy lifestyle changes.

1 day ago

are you doom spending?...

Curt Gresseth

Are you ‘doom spending’?

What is doom spending? A KSL NewsRadio producer describes her experience with — and motivation for — reckless buying.

3 days ago

emergency savings account...

Curt Gresseth

Should employers match an emergency-savings account for employees?

A Utah financial planner outlines a new law allowing an emergency-savings account, with a matching employer contribution.

6 days ago


Michelle Lee

Guide to therapy and navigating the holidays

Let's Get Moving Host Maria Shilaos spoke with Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Melissa Spaulding to learn about therapy.

15 days ago

People with certain mental health problems are more at risk for experiencing the dangers of the cli...

Kristen Rogers, CNN

As Earth’s temperature rises, so do deaths among people with mental health problems

As the climate crisis gets worse, we know of farmers whose crops are drying up and people who lose their homes due to rampant wildfires.

17 days ago

Sponsored Articles

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Human hand holding a protest banner stop vaping message over a crowded street background....

Prosperous Utah Communities

Utah’s Battle to Protect Youth from Vaping Epidemic Faces New Threat as Proposed Rule Threatens Progress

Utah's strict standards of nicotine levels in vaping products are at risk, increasing health hazards associated with use. Read more about how you can advocate for a better future for Utah's youth.

Aerial photo of Bear Lake shoreline with canopies and people camped out on the beach...

Visit Bear Lake

Last-Minute Summer Vacation Planning? Check Out Bear Lake!

Bear Lake is the perfect getaway if you are last-minute summer vacation planning. Enjoy activities with your whole family at this iconic lake.

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