Post-Election: Your Civility Survival Guide for Thanksgiving

It’s been two weeks since the election, but looking at the news and social media it is clear that politics remains a major topic across the country. Whether at work, commuting or having dinner out, it is hard to avoid a discussion that doesn’t include the election and its outcome. We all know someone with whom we disagree either on the candidate or the party that won — that is simply part of democracy.

This Thursday, across the country if we’re lucky, we’ll be sitting down with friends and family for a meal. It is a day to reflect and be grateful for all our blessings; which includes our right to vote and to express our views if we disagree with the outcome of the election. Which is fine if everyone at your table thinks as you do, but when they don’t, things can get a little uncomfortable. So we wanted to share with you a few tips for surviving dinner with the family intact, so you don’t dread the family dinner:

#1 As you sit down with a relative that has a different political perspective than you, try to see it as an opportunity to just listen to their ideas. Don’t form a response or debate, just listen to better understand their point of view. Think about the values and beliefs that must be important to them for them to feel the way they do.

#2 If a family member makes a snide comment about your political beliefs, you can respond by saying something like this: “Even though I don’t agree with your political beliefs, I respect and try to understand them. I would hope that you would try to do the same for me.” Then ask them about a different issue and practice survival guide tip #1.

#3 Acknowledge that while your dinner guests have different views, you all still have things in common and strive to find and discuss these commonalities. For example, you all agree that you want the best for this country, even if you disagree on how to get there.

#4 Given the divisiveness of this past election, you may decide to keep your Thanksgiving politics-free. Agree ahead of time not to talk about politics at the table! Use the time to get to know each other on a different level. Ask each other about childhood memories, express gratitude for all you have in your life, including the fact you have a wonderful meal in front of you and are lucky enough to be sharing it surrounded by people important to you.

We, as Americans, have a great deal for which to be thankful. So let’s express our thanks by remaining civil as we enjoy that second piece of homemade pie.