I’m nervous about the holidays. I love my family, and I love getting to see them, but we disagree on almost everything politically. And, they love to bring up those differences to try to get under my skin. I’ve seen and read a lot of articles about this, but I’m still not sure what I should do.
Dear Politically Worried,
I spend a lot of time on the internet, and with the heated political climate we’ve been shoved into the past two years, I’ve seen tons of the pieces you mention. Don’t read any more of these and, above all else, don’t take their advice. For those who don’t know, almost all of these pieces boil down to the idea that you should listen to what your relatives have to say, try to better understand what their views are, and then try to explain yours with the ultimate goal of reaching some sort of resolution.
That is terrible advice.
In a perfect world, maybe you could gain some sort of understanding of your relatives, and in this perfect world you could maybe even change their awful views. While I genuinely believe the hearts of these writers are in the right place, we don’t live in a perfect world. Your racist uncle or sexist grandpa is not going to change his mind because of something you have to say. In fact, your relatives only goal here is to upset you. Think about this for a minute–your relative is willing to ruin a family gathering just to make you uncomfortable.
That’s not okay.
Here’s my advice: the second a relative tries to attack you for your beliefs (and make no mistake, this is an attack), address the elephant in the room. Ask them why they’re trying to ruin the family gathering. Make it known that they are throwing out respect and general hospitality just to rile you up.
If that doesn’t work, I would suggest escalating things. While that may seem like horrible advice, hear me out. Your family member wouldn’t be attempting to get under your skin if they didn’t expect you to fold. Their need to come at you is based purely on power. Tell them their views are horrible, tell them they should be ashamed of themselves and that you don’t want anything to do with a family member who holds such terrible views. I guarantee you they’ll apologize within 24 hours.
Your humble advisor,
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