It’s election season and yes, the heat is on!
It isn’t just a time when candidates present their platforms and woo their kababayans, it has also become a time of mudslinging, name-calling, and dropping friends and family members who disagree with political beliefs.
Do you feel that the upcoming elections uncover huge differences you haven’t seen before?
People you thought were reasonable and intelligent seemed like strangers. You think to yourself—or even tell others, “How could you think that? How could you support that candidate? I thought you were smart!”
If you’ve been shocked, frustrated, and maybe even angered by ongoing political conversations, you might be wondering how you can keep politics from ruining your relationships. Here are 5 practical tips to maintain relationships despite political differences:
Tip #1: Choose dialogue over debate
While debates may be helpful in some situations, dialogues are more likely to increase people’s ability to connect in healthy ways, University of Michigan suggests. A dialogue creates an environment that is safe, affirming, and fair for everyone.
It’s easy to lash out or argue when the other person disagrees, but by asking questions respectfully, you can get to a place of true understanding. So instead of coming from a place of judgment, be genuinely interested to learn their motivations, values, and concerns.
Tip #2: Practice healthy disagreement
While it’s true that some people are misinformed or joining a bandwagon, it’s also possible that they support a candidate because they truly believe that it’s the right direction for the country.
Sometimes it’s best to “agree to disagree.” Psychology Today suggests how healthy disagreement looks like: people with different perspectives coming together as equals, to reason with and sharpen each other.
Welcome strong opinions and emotions but avoid coercing them to your beliefs.
Tip #3: Seek unity
What comes to your mind when you think of someone with a different political stand?
When you get frustrated or irritated about someone’s political belief, seek unity. Try to find a common ground—an approach that is proven to bring people together during a conflict, says BetterUp. Focusing on what you have in common—like your passion for the country—can help you feel more at ease even though you don’t agree with each other.
Walk in love, respect, and humility—so you can show the world what unity really looks like and bring glory to God.
Tip #4: Slow down
It’s easy to get angry, frustrated, or just downright confused at people’s political choices. Before you say something that might damage the relationship, perhaps it’s time to hit the brakes and slow down. Step away, say a prayer, and ask God’s help.
Before things get intense, Harvard Business Review suggests that you watch for your tipping point. Is your heart rate going up? Face turning red? Breathing becoming shallow?
Slow down and step back from the conversation. Take a few deep breaths and ask for God’s guidance, then try to bring empathy into the conversation.
Tip #5: Trust God
While it’s true that the election has a significant effect on the country, it’s important to remember that God’s kingdom is bigger than any government, nation, or political outcome.
The Philippine election is under God’s plan and He will accomplish His purpose for the nation. Whenever you talk about politics, remember and practice the highest call—to love Jesus and love your neighbors (Mark 12:30-31).
You don’t need to solve every political problem or meet every need at the expense of your relationships. Find what you can do and take small steps toward bettering your country—all while praying for the candidates and the nation—and trusting that no matter what happens in the elections, God is still in ultimate control.
“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.” (Daniel 2:20-21 ESV)
Are you worried, frustrated, or angered about the upcoming elections? Are you having a hard time maintaining relationships because of politics?
Do you need someone to pray with you?