Finding common ground in politics is never easy as Donald Trump is finding out regardless if you are friends or not. "We have to get together. To all Republicans, Democrats and independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people," he said. If it were only that easy Mr. Trump. You have no idea what it has been like dealing with relatives and friends who are bitter about the outcome. It's has been mass hysteria for those who supported the favored side. In the aftermath, friendships have been destroyed since people couldn't take their political hats off and many are just not talking to each other anymore. One thing is certain, no matter what, we need to find common ground if political differences are threatening your friendships. Our elders warned us to never discuss politics or religion, but today--you can't escape as everyone wants their voice heard. What is a pal to do? Well, here are ways that you can navigate your friendship through conflict when you have opposing viewpoints in politics. Perhaps, you might even survive those heated debates.
Accept different views.
You need to see both sides of the problem if you want to embrace differences. If you don't, the conversation can turn bitter fast when tempers to flare. If you really want to influence people you need to get beyond yourself to connect on a given subject, even if they are your friends. You can gain tremendous insight into understanding another person's viewpoint. When you understand where the person is coming from--you will gain more knowledge. This equates to power, Dr. Phil explained. He said that without it that "you'll never get to the real issue, and 50 percent of the solution to any problem lies in defining it." Just because you disagree with them doesn't mean you can't accept their different position.
Don't belittle their political views.
Making fun of your friend's political beliefs is going to cause friction. What you can do is to acknowledge that both your views are very different and call it what it is--different. Once you get those differences out into the open you may find some common ground on other issues like taxes or wages. President Thomas Jefferson said that he never withdrew from a relationship due to a difference in opinions or philosophies regarding politics. Perhaps he was able to state his cause and move on. Human nature sometimes prevails and so do our egos. This is the reason so many friendships end over politics.
Love the person reject the party.
Yes, you can love over party lines. However, the moment you disrespect, start name-calling and criticizing--you will lose your friend's attention. Love the person you are friends with as they are not you enemy. If you want to move past this page in your relationship love them unconditionally no matter what their party affiliation is. If Democratic commentator (strategist of Bill Clinton's presidential campaign) James Carville and his wife Mary Matalin, a Republican consultant can make a marriage work, you can compromise in your friendship. They've been married since 1993.
Stay off social media.
Best advice ever! Stay off of Facebook, Twitter and anything where you can read your friend's feed. You need to move forward by not posting anything as well even though we are weeks out of the election results. You may post something that endorses a point that is deeply offensive to the other person. So stop telling the world how you feel about everything. It is obnoxious and will sabotage relationships. You just know there is going to be more controversy over politics so why chance it? Also, it will spare you some stress as well.
Refrain from discussing politics at social functions.
Nothing ruins a dinner or a holiday party than debating politics. There was a story on the internet that people set up rules ahead of time before a function. People were told if they wanted to discuss politics they had to go into another room and discuss it there and not at the dinner table or at the party. Maybe we should stop talking about our political views and that would make dinner discussions and party discussions with friends a lot richer.
Think before you speak.This is a tough one as we want to speak our minds. You can in a respectful matter, but think before you speak. Try not to respond to a comment that you disagree with in haste. Walk away if you need to in order to avoid the temptation for telling your friend off. Hold off before jumping into any conversation that you know will lead to a negative outcome.
Talk in "I" statements.
If you choose "I" statements when you are communicating you will not be viewed as someone who is defensive or looking for a fight. This makes you more approachable than using "you" statements, which are more blameful. Talk about your feelings and use statements starting with "I" to communicate what you're experiencing and why. The "I" statements are really powerful and can de-escalate a situation pretty quickly. They will not work complete miracles but will help both parties find a resolution. If politics is a source of contention for you leave it for the politicians. In the "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown," Linus famously gave us all advice on how to get along: “There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin.” Take the safe road and keep politics out of your friendships. It is something that we all can agree on.