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  • #364327
    Debbie
    Participant

    I work in an office of 12 people, all of whom have the same political viewpoint which is different from mine. I have 4 siblings, 4 in-laws, and 9 nieces and nephews, those who have a political viewpoint share the same one which is different from mine.  My father used to say, don’t talk politics, religion or money.  Nowadays it seems that politics is talked about more than anything else, at least in my experience.  Lately I’ve felt anxious and depressed from the daily effort to let comments slide while still trying to engage.  It feels like I am carrying heavy weights.  I feel isolated and alone, especially at work.  Of my 12 co-workers, 3 are executives across the hall with not much interaction.  Two co-workers are working from home.  Of the remaining 7, 4 are close who eat lunch together, take afternoon walks, text outside of the office, etc.  As I said, they subscribe to the same political ideology.  I have tried to eat lunch in the lunch room with them, go out to lunch when asked, but I feel like I’m not in on the inside jokes and that they watch what they say around me.  Not a comfortable feeling.  Reminds me of being invited to the “cool kids” table in jr. high or high school but knowing I don’t belong.

    Frankly, I don’t know what to do.  Conversations inevitably come back to something political.  I’m to the point where I want to stop engaging with my co-workers but that makes for a lonely, uncomfortable work experience too.

    Any advice?

     

    #364330
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Debbie:

    You wrote that your father used to say, “don’t talk politics, religion or money”- excellent advice and when you have guests in your home, you can announce this guideline. But in the workplace, in other contexts- different people, different rues, or guidelines, or none at all.

    You didn’t mention if you voiced your political opinions at work, or if you keep them a secret. Keeping them a secret may make you feel uncomfortable because your co workers voice theirs. What about voicing your opinions, so that you are part of the conversations and interactions, but voice your opinions not in a heated, argumentative way, but calmly, in a friendly way?

    anita

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by anita.
    #364334
    Debbie
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    Until the past few months I did not speak about my political views but one day in the lunchroom there was a discussion and I couldn’t keep quiet, I said “You all say xxxxxxxxxxx like it’s a bad thing.”  From that point on is when it’s become more uncomfortable as they’ll make comments like, oh Debbie you’ll “love” this… or, “not to get political but…”.

    Debbie

    #364336
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Debbie:

    Like Dr. Fauci said the other day: we live in divisive times, no doubt about that. Since you already expressed an opinion and it led to coworkers teasing you, poking at you- better go back to your father’s wise advice and not discuss politics at the workplace. Tell your coworkers what your father said and that you learned most recently that you should have stuck to his advice. Let them know that you are not interested in talking about politics, and that you hope there can be other, less divisive/ more friendly topics to talk about.

    anita

    #364388
    Brandy
    Participant

    Hi Debbie,

    Many feel anxious about voicing their political opinions for fear of being disrespected, disliked, teased (like you were), or ostracized. It’s especially troubling in the workplace. I choose to not engage and I’m always amazed when people make statements that reveal their assumption that I share their position on a particular issue (because only an idiot would have an opposing position to theirs, right? :/ ) It’s the strangest thing.  Maybe not knowing my position creates discomfort for them and it’s a passive-aggressive attempt to get the information they want in order to feel more comfortable. Don’t take the bait, Debbie! Follow your dad’s advice, don’t engage, and don’t worry about what happened in the lunchroom that day. I’ve a hunch there are others in your office who are afraid to reveal their true thoughts.

    Feeling excluded from inside political jokes and knowing others are watching what they say around you are both painful experiences. Gain strength in knowing that you are not alone. Continue to think things out for yourself, and be friendly, respectful yet also confident around those who disagree with you politically.

    B

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