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Should You Talk Politics at Work?

Since the results of the 2016 election came out, there has been a great divide between the American people. Politics, which was once mostly just background noise is now taking the forefront in media. With all of the coverage and many different television programs taking sides between mainly the Democrat and Republican parties, it can be hard to ignore. All around, if you’re trying to read or listen to the news, it can be hard to decipher if that information is “fake news” or not.

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There’s an old saying that you shouldn’t talk about religion or politics on a first date, which makes sense. But should you talk about politics at work? You spend 40 hours a week or more around the same people on a near-daily basis. In some cases, you might see your colleagues more than you see your own family. It doesn’t come as a surprise that you would grow close to these people and make conversation with them. If you want to talk about politics, however, there are a few rules that you should follow. Here are some guidelines to keep the political conversations on the pleasant side.

Make Sure They Want to Talk About It

Not everyone wants to talk about politics, and not everyone is informed or has a complete grasp on where they stand and they probably don’t want you to try to sway them. If they’re not asking to hear your opinion on gun control then don’t just start spouting off your views. However, if someone brings up a political conversation and you want to engage with them try to stay away from topics like gun control and abortion. Both of these topics are generally not what you should be discussing in a professional setting. It is also best to stay away from most social issues. If you really want to discuss politics with someone in the workplace, stick to smaller issues like local ones.

Be Informed

Don’t try to argue about the glass ceiling if you’re referring to your sunroof. If you’re not completely informed or just making accusations towards people without having a real grasp of the issues, just stay away from any arguments. You’ll end up looking dumb and that’s the last thing you want to look like in front of your bosses.

Do Not Disrespect Anyone Who Does Not Uphold Your Views

You are still at work, and you have to be around these people nearly every day. Remember that before you start making enemies. If you are engaging in political conversation at work, really listen to the other side. This will show them that you respect and hear what they’re saying, and then you can give them your opinion. Say things like, “I understand where you’re coming from, and in my opinion…” Also, don’t let anyone disrespect you while discussing politics. If someone begins to attack you personally because of your views, remove yourself from the situation.

Behave The Same Outside Of Work As You Would At Work

Happy Hour should be a fun time to socialize, not get into political debates. Uphold yourself as you would if you were still in the workplace. Remember, you still have to see these people tomorrow; you don’t want to have to apologize to everyone the next day. It might be beneficial for you to stay bipartisan on social media, too. If you post a strong political view on your Facebook or other social media site, it could come off as an invitation to your coworkers that you want to have a debate about it.

Agree to Disagree

At the end of the day, there is no correct side when it comes to politics. It is merely everyone’s shared opinions, and not everyone is completely cut and dry on each political topic. There are those you may feel safe with because they share your political standing but maybe differ with you on a topic or two. There’s no reason to dissolve that friendship over a simple difference of opinion. If you find yourself engaged in a heavy debate that gets a little too heated or personal, then try to end the argument. Simply agree to disagree and move on with your life.