Or, Just Don't Answer the Phone.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

i'm not even going to lie, yesterday was an emotional day. not like teary-emotional, more like exhausted-emotional. i became so engulfed in this election, like so many other people i know, that i'm not sure what i'm supposed to be doing now that it's over. as content as i am, i really didn't want to talk about it at all yesterday. i just wanted to completely soak it in. i didn't answer the phone. i avoided my email and my overflowing google reader. it's just a bi-product of a long election i guess; but it's really amazing to be a part of something that is so much bigger than yourself. maybe this can help me get through the week.

We all know the traditional prohibitions against talking politics: avoid it when you can; don't get personal; find common ground. Thirty million etiquette books can't be wrong, and yet, today, when everyone's bursting with excitement and exaltation and triumph, the old rules don't seem to apply! How can anyone not want to talk about it, you think — how can anyone not be excited?!

And yet, as we know, not everyone is. Some very dear friends and relatives and other assorted grinches are glum and, however inexplicable this may seem, these encounters can't be avoided indefinitely. So listen up: however tempting it may be to do a victory dance and rub their faces in the mud and toss "loser!" around like grass seed, here's a better idea.

Try to avoid it. Put it off as long as possible. Wait until passions have cooled. Avoid calls. Don't pretend solicitude, don't try to be adult, don't try to convince anyone or assume anybody's mind has been changed by the outpouring of joy and enthusiasm that's swept you up. This isn't only to preserve family harmony; rather, it's a way for you to enjoy things for a little while before reality intrudes.

-Stick to a Script. As with any tricky conversation, this is invaluable advice. Stick to talking points: this is what I did last night; yes, I'm happy; I know this isn't what you wanted but let's all try to be optimistic. (This last bit of inclusive language sounds extra-mature.)

-Keep It Short. THIS IS ESSENTIAL. Things can only go in one direction and that's pear-shaped. Holidays are coming and big fight should be avoided at all costs. Manufacture an excuse to end the call beforehand if possible.

-Do. Not. Gloat. Nearly impossible, true. But empathy is essential here. There's nothing worse than a bad winner.

-Have an exit strategy. This comes courtesy of Anna Post, who advises lines like, "I guess we just don't see eye-to-eye; or: I'll have to consider that; or: For me, it's private."

-End on a good note. If it's a family member, "love" is always a good option. If not, a warm "take care," shows you to be a mature adult who's a fitting representative for her candidate.
[via jezebel]

2 comments:

spleeness 2:12 PM  

I hear you. I've been avoiding talking about politics on my blog for just this reason: I think my views are different than just about everyone else in my family. Just before I read your post I was imagining Thanksgiving dinner with some fear. Honestly, like 5 minutes ago I started to worry about this. Good tips!

spleeness 2:12 PM  

ps. Take whatever down time you need. :)

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