Last weekend, I did something I had promised myself I would never do: We had an in-depth conversation with another couple about Canadian politics.


Mark Twain once said:

“Never discuss politics or religion in polite company.”

While I only found this quote because I wrote this post, it certainly reflects what I grew up believing.

The thing is, both politics and religion can be emotionally charged subjects to discuss. Avoiding these discussions isn’t a new condition, as it was true 100 years ago as much as it is now.

In families, you might have the crazy uncle who suddenly starts angrily yelling as he can’t believe other family members disagree with his political views.

At work, people start discrediting or ignoring colleagues due to such disagreements.

On the street, groups clash as they wave signs and flags promoting their preference while bashing the others.

Yet, here we were, talking politics on a rainy Saturday afternoon.

For context, we don’t lean in the same direction as the other couple regarding politics (i.e. left vs. right.)

However, the conversation was respectful. We asked questions, stated our disagreement, and explored the other’s perspective.

We even found ways in which we agreed.

I doubt the conversation changed anyone’s vote in the next election.

What it did accomplish, though, is to open our minds to the facts and issues rather than the emotions and false information.

What would be different if we had more respectful conversations like this one?

While I always try to be polite, making it the priority will only prevent a meaningful discussion from happening.

Politeness will result in avoiding the hard topics.

So let me reword Mark Twain’s quote:

“Never discuss politics or religion in polite company. Save those discussions for respectful company.”

You’ve got this.

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