With Election Day behind us and no more political ads on TV, political conversations and arguments persist on Facebook. They may happen between you and an old friend or your conservative uncle. While Facebook is a good place to share opinions, feelings and news articles, comments from your friends or family members that contradict your personal opinions can lead to harsh words and hurt feelings. How do you navigate talking to someone with different views than you and how do you prioritize your mental health? If you are interested in having a more productive conversation with someone about politics, try asking them why they feel the way they do about the candidates or policies they support. Trying to understand another point of view is educational and will serve you better than simply telling someone what they believe is wrong. If the person is unwilling to acknowledge your opinions at all, it might be worth considering if you are willing to continue having a relationship with them. If your disagreement is with a family member, you can agree to not discuss politics in order to avoid arguments.
It’s important to know when to step away from politics on Facebook and take care of your mental health. You can take a break for a week and take the time you would spend scrolling your news feed doing other things you enjoy like exercising, reading a book or watching that new show you’ve been meaning to on Netflix. Try doing something creative like taking pictures, writing, drawing or journaling about the things you are grateful for. If you want to stay on social media, you can snooze certain political groups you belong to or do your best to ignore strangers in the comment section who may strongly disagree with your opinion.
While tensions are high, keep in mind this is not a normal year or election season and your mental health is more important than any argument on Facebook. As a nation, we just experienced perhaps what will be the defining election of our generation. The rights of women, BlPOC people, LGBTQ+ individuals and those with disabilities were on the ballot. Elections are important because they determine what policies will go into effect that impact people’s daily lives. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if and how you will engage with people on social media, but please remember to care for your mental health in the process and be respectful of others
By Claire Heins, Contributing Writer