Here are 4 ways to mend broken relationships over political differences

Donald Trump, Joe Biden
Posted at 6:02 PM, Nov 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-06 22:48:32-05

KANSAS CITY, MO — The divisiveness of the 2020 presidential election has created divisions among many friends and family members.

Swope Health Behavioral Services Director Mark Miller offered a few tips on how to mend those relationships damaged by politics.

He noted it takes work, personal reflection, timing, valuing relationship and working together on shared goals.

As the wait continues for a winner between President Trump and challenger Joe Biden, protesters have descended outside election offices and supporters have clashed on highways.

With the expectation that a winner soon will be declared, some supporters are bound to be hurt and angry because their candidate lost, while the opposition's supporters will be celebrating.

But in the aftermath of the election results, how can friends and family on opposite sides reconcile? Miller said it starts with personal reflection.

Personal reflection

Reconciling and healing ones own internal conflicts and feelings can help lead to more civil discourse.

"Reflection is something we all need to do after anything that happens contentious in our lives," he said. "It's time to take a step back to think about it and then begin to normalize the relationship. So, let me be patient with myself as well as with other people to be able to do some internal healing, because sometimes we need to do internal healing before we can reach out to someone else and then begin to express how we felt about something."

Pick right time

Timing also can be important, especially during or in the immediate aftermath of an emotional outcome when feelings are often strongest.

"Sometimes, it's not the right time to talk about something," Miller said. "The wound may be so fresh and so deep, it may take a while for it to come out and so that's the patience and timing part of it."

Value relationship over politics

If it's a friendship worth saving and a relationship you value, you may have to intentionally choose to prioritize protecting and preserving it rather than gloating about politics.

"There is long held value in relationships and you can be passionate, but then you also have to weigh your passion against our commitment to relationships and those other things and sometimes that's difficult to do," Miller said.

Find common ground

If passion exists on both side, channeling that passion toward a common goal and working to find common ground can help repair the relationship.

"Incorporate what it was that you or your political opposite were so passionate about or concerned about and work together," Miller said. "Working together is phenomenal. When we all work together, things get better."

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