A Democrat and a Republican at the Dinner Table

A few months ago I was contacted by a research firm out of San Francisco. They were interviewing therapists in Denver for a well known marketing company to conduct 5 therapy sessions between one Democrat and one Republican (2 new people per session). SPOILER ALERT - THEY PICKED ME!!


I thought the sessions would include me, the 2 clients, a guy to videotape us and the people who originally contacted me. Nope. There was a film crew, a sound manager, a producer, a guy with one of those clapboards before they start shooting and about 7 other people. This was a big deal. AKA Time to bring my A Game. But enough about MEEEEE.

I knew that the people being interviewed would get riled up, argue and that things would be intense especially in THIS political climate. We picked all the hot topics we could think of to get an intense discussion going... things like abortion, NFL, religion, guns, politics, etc.   

Not even one slightly nasty argument erupted over the course of five 1.5 hour sessions.  People definitely got fired up about topics they were passionate about, but not once was there any sort of disrespect.  They all listened to each other and really had more in common than not. The political climate today has most of us thinking that we are on total opposite ends of the spectrum. Many people tend to think of Democrats as tree hugging liberals and that Republicans are all gun-toting rednecks. Every person who showed up for their session was thoughtful and smart articulating their position with great care. They all listened to the other’s point of view AND carefully considered the opposing viewpoint, even when disagreeing. The really neat part was that they all clearly liked each other, lots of laughter through the disagreements.

This holiday season is ripe for family arguments over dinner or cocktails. Instead of focusing on the differences, try focusing on similarities. If and when the differences pop up, find the underlying meanings and where they come from. Try to see why it makes sense for the other person while respectfully disagreeing. It’s A-OK to love somebody on the other side of the aisle, they aren’t lunaticks (mostly).

If you find yourself struggling to deal with family member’s different viewpoints on politics, religion, or any other hot topic, we can help you deal with these emotions. Call us today to set yourself up for success this holiday season.