My advice for talking about politics with friends
SpunOut.ie volunteer Aaron gives four useful tips for having interesting and respectful conversations about politics
This is an opinion of a young person and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of SpunOut.ie. It is one person's experience and may be different for you. If you'd like to write something for SpunOut.ie please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Political discussions can be a fun, exciting and an educational experience for everyone regardless of their opinions, if done in the right way. With some political discussions becoming tense, it's wise to stick to a number of guidelines which can help improve political discussions, whether you're a political activist or just having a conversation with your family at the dinner table. These tips can work for everybody regardless of how much you know or how interested you are in politics.
Politics affects everybody and everyone, especially young people, and the youth should make their voices heard as we've a lot to offer and a lot can be learned from us. I think it's best
to share your thoughts and opinions in a respectful, clear and open minded way. So here are four tips to help improve your political discussions.
Keep eye contact and have good posture
This might not seem very important or even relevant, but I believe keeping good eye contact and posture is central to getting your point across. When Bill Clinton was running
against George Bush in the 1992 US election, in one of the Town Hall debates, Bill Clinton made a great effort to keep good eye contact with the person asking him a question and got up and walked towards them and talked with confidence. Visually it was quite clear who came out better in that Town Hall debate.
This doesn't just apply for people running for president. When you maintain eye contact and good posture you come across as confident which will work in your favour.
Research, Research, Research
I cannot stress how important this is to good quality political discussion. Yes there's left and right wing views and talking points and it gets more complicated than that. However the best side to be on is the side of truth. I think it’s important to be weary of opinionated journalism and sources, and always try and read both sides of the argument before
you develop your opinions fully. Doing your research helps you become more informed on the issues that are important to you, and can really help in any political discussion.
Be open minded
This is a big one, especially in the modern political climate Try to decide your own political stance based on your own thoughts and values, rather than having your opinions decided for you by the people around you.
You’re entitled to your own political opinions and viewpoints so try not to feel pressured into agreeing with other people’s viewpoint if it doesn’t fit with your values.
Keep your cool
There's people out there who will always try and get a rise out of you. They'll try to pressure you to say things they can take out of context and I think some will just be mean people. The vast majority of people aren't but we can't deny the existence of those people in political conversations. My advice would be to keep your head and know when to walk away.
Not every discussion or debate is going to be your best, but the trick is to keep trying, stay informed and try not to let negative people or experiences keep you from letting your voice be heard. I hope this guide was helpful and I wish you the very best of luck with your discussions/debates.