With the presidential candidates making news headlines daily, it has created a breeding ground for heated conversations. Our parents taught us that discussions about sex, religion and politics should be off limits, but with every news story leading off with the presidential race, it is bound to come up.
 
Presidential Candidate
 
 
This presidential race is unlike any other preceding race. Donald Trump has entered the arena and changed the customary mode in which candidates interact with one another. With the makeup of the race changing, so is the old adage that politics should be off limits.

The Presidential race is on the tip of everyone's tongue. Is it appropriate to tell someone who you are voting for?

Yes and no. Choose wisely when broadcasting your position. Think before sharing this information with your co-workers, boss, family or people that you meet socially. Your boss may be a very passionate Democrat for Bernie Sanders and openly telling everyone in the office, but that doesn't mean that you have to share your political opinions.

Politics are very personal, especially when the views the candidates are sharing are close to a cause you support. With all the name calling and incorrect information the candidates are spewing these days, be prepared by having your facts straight as to why you are voting for a particular person.

In entering a political discussion, here are a few tips to keep in mind.

 

Is it okay to ask someone who they are voting for?

This answer is simple. No. If someone wants to share their political views, they will.

Protesters

 

What should you do if a political conversation is heading in a heated direction?

Presidential Debate 2016

When small talk turns politically aggressive, a bit of diffusing is necessary. Do your best to direct the conversation so it does not lead down a dangerous and argumentative path.

If you are ever put on the spot with an ill-mannered question (You do recognize that he is an idiot?), you can play politician. Most politicians will vaguely state an opinion and start talking about something positive and totally unrelated to the inappropriate question.  Some ways to deflect include: discussing common interests, asking open-ended questions, discussing hobbies, using follow-up questions, or sharing life-lessons you have learned.

Before the conversation gets too deep, you have a chance to turn it around. Use the opportunity to keep the peace.

 

With the presidential candidates making the top news headlines daily, there’s a good chance that your dinner party could evolve into one big political debate.

A dinner party can be a joyful time with family and friends, or it can seem like you the host, have taken on too many responsibilities as the cook, server, dishwasher and moderator in a stress filled debate with unruly politicians.

People may not remember your dinner party’s menu, but memories are pretty clear when an intriguing conversation leaves a bad taste in someone’s mouth.  Whether having dinner with new in-laws, old friends, or close family members there are certain boundaries that should not be crossed.

So how do you encourage conversations that make the meal more enjoyable without political chatter that sends some guests storming out early? Here are some tips -

Take Action

As the host, you may have to put fires out at the dinner table long after the meal is done.  If political rhetoric becomes a nasty side dish at dinner, the host needs to take action.  You don't want to turn political debate moderator, that type of dinner is enough to sour any stomach.

Steer The Conversation

It is proper etiquette to stay away from conversations about sex, religion, or politics. These types of conversations have been known to put a damper on the evening. Do your best to direct the conversations so that they don’t lead down a dangerous path. For instance, if a friend comments that “Donald Trump’s the leader, and Republicans are doing so much better than Democrats” and you see your friend Donna, the Democrat, start to let him have it - change the tone of the conversation by asking if anyone watched Larry David as Bernie Sanders on Saturday Night Live? (he did a great job! You can watch it here). Once you have everyone laughing – then ask who would like more pie?

Have Your 10 Questions Ready To Go

If you are acting as host, it is always a good idea to consider the opposing views of dinner guests and plan a list of appropriate discussion points ahead of time. It is best to stick to topics suitable and appropriate for all audiences.  Pick 10 Safe topics and then think of questions to get the conversation going - include the weather, pets, movies, books, travel and so on.  Pay attention to local and national news so that you are well informed about things going on around you.

Be the Leader

Most guest will follow the host’s lead. Your mood is critical to set the tone of the dinner.  Always remain positive and keep a smile on your face.  Your attitude can put any guests at ease.  If you stayed up all night cooking and cleaning, never allow your guests to know you are tired or stressed. It is always best to plan ahead and make sure you are refreshed and ready for any small emergencies your guests may require.

Be Quick To Change the Subject

If someone starts a conversation by asking an inappropriate question, you can change the subject. You may respond by saying that the question is interesting and asking for time to consider the topic. It is always good etiquette to keep the response positive and find something complimentary to say about the guest or topic and move on. If a conversation is headed in a bad direction change the topic by linking to something said in a previous conversation and continue talking. If more outgoing guests are dominating the conversations, turn the tables and look for opportunities to encourage guests who appear to be more reserved to speak.

Deflect, Deflect, Deflect

If you are ever put on the spot with an ill-mannered question, you can play politician. Most politicians will vaguely state an opinion and start talking about something positive and totally unrelated to the inappropriate question.   Some ways to deflect include: discussing common interests, asking open-ended questions, discussing hobbies, using follow-up questions, or sharing life-lessons you’ve learned.

Genuine compliments can also be used to change any bad attitude and calm a disruptive guest. Saying “I like your tie” can go a long way to fostering a dinner peace treaty, but always be genuine and truthful with your compliments.

Stay Neutral

As a rule of thumb, it is never a good idea to force your ideas or opinions on others during a dinner. Also, try not to take sides. Make your guests comfortable by trying to listen to different points of view.  The relationships between guests in your home are far more important than anyone being right or feeling superior.

Being a great host takes planning and patience. Good conversation is as important as good food, wine and flowers to ensure that everyone will have a great time. Incorporate these tactics the next time you host a dinner party and you will be sure to get the most votes for “best dinner host”.

It is an election year here in the United States, and a breeding ground for heated conversations. When party talk turns political, a bit of diffusing may be necessary to prevent a social bomb from going off.

 Party Conversation

Before the conversation gets too deep to come back up quickly, you have a chance to turn it around. Use the opportunity to keep the peace.

 

If you are not attending a candidate fundraiser, a government-sponsored event, or a political action committee gathering, there is no reason for a discussion on politics.

 

A good host will be monitoring conversations as she makes rounds, but just in case she is out of earshot, it might be a good idea to get her attention and seek help.

 

Each of us have our own ideas and convictions, and we have a responsibility to respect the ideas and convictions of others. Keep celebratory events upbeat by discussing subjects of mutual interest that add to the party, not bring it down with negative conversation.

If a topic surfaces on which you do not agree, or cannot agree to disagree, then it is best left off the table.