CLEVELAND — The issues that are dividing the country are also dividing households and friendships. There's a good chance someone you love is on the opposite end of the political spectrum. So, what do you do when the conversation turns to politics and you don't want to turn on each other?
Relationship coach Kathy Dawson says this is a time to come to every conversation with an open mind.
“You want to come to a conversation with curiosity. With genuine curiosity and be able to say, you know, I know we don't agree on everything, but I truly am curious. I want to know your thoughts around this issue or this candidate because I love you and I care about you and that's part of who you are.”
Dawson says this is the hard part, because when our beliefs are opposite, our egos want to defend how we feel about the issue. But what's more important is to listen and ask why your loved one feels so strongly about the issue.
“It's not about winning. It's not about winning, OK? And when we make it about winning, that's when we mess up the relationship. It's about coming from a place of understanding. And knowing it's OK if we don't agree.”
With the political season so divisive, we asked Dawson what happens when two sides are so opposed to the other, when people categorize the other side as “crazy” or “off their rocker."
“I don't want to freak you out, but that's how a war starts. We make 'them' the enemy,” she says. “We have more power than we think If we can go into the world and approach other people who think differently than we do, rather than in a negative way. Just say 'tell me more' they’re going to be like 'uhhh.' I mean they’ve probably never had someone say that to them. But that's how peace starts. One interaction at a time.”
Dawson also says to remember that years from now, this moment in politics will be in history books, but your relationships with a friend or family member won't be (hopefully). She says politics is no reason to ruin a relationship.