It is a basic rule of social etiquette to steer clear of topics like politics. You don’t want to incite anger or passion about anything controversial nor do you want to contribute to a confrontational atmosphere, regardless of the setting. That said, from time to time, it happens. Something slips and we’re left backpedaling or losing faith in someone we thought had the same political ideologies we do. When we do talk politics, we try to stick to the venerable Emily Post’s advice: “Whether you are at the office, actively campaigning, or quietly curious, when pursuing the subject of politics, it is important to consider the setting and the audience before wading into the fray.” Now, because it’s not always possible to be so well-prepared, here are 10 reasons why political talk can ruin your day.
1. Sarcasm Stings
Political talk often elicits responses of condescension and sarcasm. Whether you’re dishing it out or are the victim of someone else lashing out, it hurts and might even leave a mark on the relationship forever.
2. The Heat Is On
Your seemingly innocent political argument might become heated beyond the point of civility. If you’re engaging with a co-worker or family member, you’re definitely going to have to see this person again and, trust us, it’s going to be awkward.
3. No One’s Listening
Often when we debate on something we’re passionate about, we become a talker instead of a listener. It’s a no-win situation because the conversation will inevitably go nowhere but downhill when neither party is listening.
4. Work No-No
When you’re at work, it’s particularly inappropriate to engage in political debate and all too easy to make enemies you can’t afford to have. Your political views are your own personal business, and it’s just not worth the risk.
5. Creating Bias
Revealing your personal political views can change how others view you in matters that may be unrelated to politics. You have no idea how far the ramifications of sharing your opinion may spread.
6. Wasting Time?
Political talk has been shown to stifle productivity in the workplace. Shouldn’t you be up to something else anyway?
Political arguments, whether with family, friends, colleagues or strangers, can make people feel alone, isolated or outnumbered.
8. No Fun
Politics talk can put a damper on a good time. You may be forever known as Buzz Killington if you bring down the fun at a party or social gathering.
9. What’s the Point?
Nine times out of ten, no one is going to change anyone else’s political views with one conversation or rant. So save your breath and enjoy your company.
10. Party Pooper
If you are a guest at a party that’s not politically focused and you bring up your own political agenda, you are hijacking your host’s party, being a bad guest and a party pooer. Just don’t.