'Try to steer the conversation somewhere else': Etiquette expert offers tips on mixing politics and family
Published Sunday, October 13, 2019 6:54PM PDT
Last Updated Sunday, October 13, 2019 6:56PM PDT
VANCOUVER - The federal election is just around the corner. With just one week to go, party leaders are ramping up their campaigns for the final push to the finish line.
But how do you navigate a family discussion about politics – perhaps around the Thanksgiving table – without stepping on someone else’s toes?
Etiquette expert Konrad Philip has some suggestions.
“It can get extremely personal,” said Philip during an interview with CTV News Vancouver, especially when one family member refuses to change the subject.
“Try to steer the conversation somewhere else,” he suggested.
That’s what Vancouverite Jo Heller told CTV News she does.
“It can get uncomfortable,” Heller said. "There’s a lot of diverse opinions around my table. And I’d rather not engage.”
But, sometimes you have to engage.
“If you know that those contentious topics are going to come up, then do some research before you go to dinner," Philip said.
He suggested knowing what politicians are actually saying, being informed on their platforms and attempting to use fact rather than opinion to diffuse a situation.
“Talk about your observations, nothing about your opinions,” he said.
But many families have someone like Vancouverite Adam Wenger.
“I actually like to make it as awkward as possible every Thanksgiving,” Wenger told CTV News. “I think that’s part of bringing the family together is to be as roasted as the turkey.”
That could make for an uncomfortable situation for anyone who may be meeting a partner’s parents for the first time.
In that case, Philip said, best to avoid it all together.
“In polite company, you don’t bring up politics, because people haven’t had that chance to form an impression about you and people get very personal about it,” he said.
The election is October 21.