blog » July 9, 2017 by Nicole DeAvilla

How to Stay Calm When Talking Politics With Nancy Dafoe! by Nicole DeAvilla

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4 months ago
How to Stay Calm When Talking Politics With Nancy Dafoe!

In these heated political times knowing how to stay calm, cool and collected during a potentially heated exchange is a gift. We were thrilled to have our very own Nancy Dafoe help us to navigate this tricky landscape. Nancy, author of six books including "An Iceberg in Paradise," "The Misdirection of Education Policy: Raising Questions About School Reform," "Breaking Open the Box" and "Writing Creatively," and a political blogger, knows what it is like to be in the hot seat. Read on for her tips on keeping the peace when talking politics!

Q: What do you do when you’re in the middle of a conversation and sharply opposing political views come up?

I try to remind myself that everyone’s views and opinions are dear to him or her and vow to listen first. I also try not to interrupt because I know it hurts when someone talks over me or someone. I make a point to learn one new thing about the person’s ideas or views during our conversation. When asked, I offer my views and express them in positive, dynamic terms, not in opposition.

Q: What do you do when someone responds with insults or crudities to your views or your political blog?

Never easy, but I try never to respond in kind to insults. I ask the person why he or she framed the question that way. I may ask, “What specifically upsets you about this position?" Specific details and unemotional responses catch people off guard. I try to be clear in expressing my views and may calmly ask for further clarity from the other person. I may let the person know that the comment was hurtful but not retaliate.

Q: What are some tips for staying calm and collected during a heated exchange?

We think more rationally when calm, so I remind myself to give my brain its best opportunity to define the position clearly. The hardest thing to do but perhaps the best is to not take it personally when someone is angry about a position I hold. A slight smile often disarms angry people, so I might smile and nod my head, agreeing with his or her right to hold a position. I picture someone I love, someone from my family or dear friend who also holds opposing political views.

Q: How do you come up with topics for your political blog?

I read all the time, so I often create blog posts around my responses to another writer or news. Sometimes a post leads to interesting comments from my readers that results in a new post by me. Often, my posts come out of research I am doing for another essay or article, and I discover a new topic thread. Conversations with friends and acquaintances may lead to a new blog posting, either to clarify misconceptions or define a position.

Q: Why do people get so heated or angry over politics?

Our political positions typically evolve from our ideas about family, religion, community, culture – what we hold most closely. Too often, however, angry exchanges are the result of miscommunication or misinformation. There is often a personal story behind an angry person’s stance on an issue. Angry responses may also result from a person feeling belittled or made to feel inadequate in some manner.

Q: Do you have any suggested readings on the subject?

Q: Any last advice for these trying times of political strife?

Remember that we are all flawed creatures and bound to make mistakes and enter into poor decisions at times. It is much easier to give advice than to carry it out. There are a multitude of reasons people get angry, and some of them have nothing to do with the matter at hand. Try to remove the personal from the argument and see what you have left. Good luck!

Be sure to follow @dafoenad, visit NancyDafoeBooks.comlike her on Facebook, visit and check out her 30Seconds page!

Dieter Schmitz
Great tips Nancy Dafoe My tip is to harken back to history. As a nation, we have weathered much bigger political storms!
Nicole DeAvilla
Agreed! We need to pay more attention to history.
Nancy Dafoe
I, too, wish more people read history. We tend to think of education as stopping at a certain point (12th grade or college) in this country. Education should be a life-long pursuit.
Nancy Dafoe
@Dieter Schmitz, We need to think of education as a life-long pursuit. 30Seconds
Meredith Schneider
Oh so interesting! I can't wait to hear what you have to share with us. :)
Nicole DeAvilla
This will be interesting for sure. Can't wait to see you too Meredith Schneider ! XOXO
Toni B
Great topic! Excited to hear more. My husband & I agree to disagree and don't discuss them at all.
Nicole DeAvilla
We often do the same! See you soon. :)
Jane Says
Jane Says I love politics and this needs to be discussed.
Rachel W. Lewter
This should be fun. 😬😬😬

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