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Author Topic: When People Try to Influence Your Political Opinions  (Read 13106 times)

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When People Try to Influence Your Political Opinions
« on: November 19, 2009, 06:38:27 PM »
BG:  Our family has a friend whom we run into occasionally.   He was originally a friend of my BIL, but he has known the whole family for a long time.  He is a senior citizen, as we are, and  tries to influence us politically whenever he sees us.  He spoke to DH a few weeks ago about a mutual friend that had died and all of a sudden he went into this rant about politics. He is an Orange and we are Grapes.  He used to send me political emails and I finally asked him to stop.  He was insulted, but that's tough.

He called tonight and told DH that he has a DVD about Health Care for us to watch.  DH told him that we don't have a DVD player, but he is going to bring it to a basketball game and give it to us anyway.  I don't try to influence him politically.  Why does he think it's ok to bombard us with his opinions? He is obsessive about politics.

Anyway, when he tries to give us this DVD at a game, what would be the best thing to say to refuse it?  I know him, he'll say, "Oh you Grapes, you don't want to hear the truth."  DH says just to take it and get rid of it, but I want to make it plain that I am not interested in his opinions.


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Re: When People Try to Influence Your Political Opinions
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2009, 06:49:33 PM »
"Friend, we have no way to watch this DVD.  We wouldn't want to take it home and have it collect dust and potentially get lost.  You'd better hang onto it."

"Friend, we like spending time with you, but lately every conversation comes back around to why Oranges are better than Grapes.  We have our own feelings about politics, and we're happy with them.  We keep ourselves well informed, and we'd rather just here about what you did this weekend than what Orange leader did or what Grape leader said."
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Re: When People Try to Influence Your Political Opinions
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2009, 06:53:01 PM »
I'm afraid most of my responses would not be etiquettely approved.

Sticking with appropriate responses, may I suggest:

1. Don't take it.  Keep your hands in your pockets or put them behind your back when he tries to hand you the DVD.  Repeat "No, we don't want it."

2. So he sticks it in your purse/pocket anyway.  Take it out and drop it on the ground or toss it in the nearest trash can, preferably while he's watching.

3. This is my father's approach:  Tell him, "I'll give you equal time.  I'll listen quietly to you for 10 minutes, but you have to listen to us - quietly and without interrupting - for 10 minutes."  If he is a friend you wish to keep, this might be better than throwing the DVD in the garbage.

I've gotten to the point where I refuse to discuss politics with my family, and I love them.  When they "go there," I say, "I'm going to ring off if you keep harping on XYZ." They have a choice, drop it or talk to someone else.  Friends of family - forgetaboutit!  You are not going to persuade me.  You are just going to irritate me.  If you want to irritate me, then you are clearly not my friend.  End of conversation and, hopefully, end of relationship.  I have enough toxic people in my life.  One less would be an improvement.  Life is too short.

Whatever you do, don't engage.  You don't have to say anything.  Your actions make it clear that you are not interested in hearing his political opinions.  If he says, "Oh you Grapes ..." turn your back on him and walk away while he is speaking.
"The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit.  The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are."

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Re: When People Try to Influence Your Political Opinions
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2009, 07:26:48 PM »
Thanks for the suggestions.  We both follow the local college bb team so we'll probably see him on Saturday at the game.  It's hard to escape him because he sits in front of us.  We sit on the second row of bleachers because DD uses a wheelchair and we sit on the end next to her.  So we are sort of a captive audience.

My sister is also a Grape and he sends her emails and argues with her.   Then he'll say to her or me, "You're just like your sister, you Grapes are all the same."  I'd like to smack him upside the head!

He's never been married and never had to think about anybody but himself (not to say that all bachelors are selfish), but he doesn't have anything else to do but surf the 'net and watch TV shows that reinforce his opinions.


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Re: When People Try to Influence Your Political Opinions
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2009, 08:33:22 PM »
I don't know the nuances of the situation, but how would he respond to

"Do you think you will persuade us of anything by being rude/condeceding/(your favorite word for his behavior)?"

Or perhaps it is time for a clear

"This subject is now of limits between us."  Repeated word for word each time he tries to say anything about politics, or how you and your sister are (in a negative fashion). 
Then if he continues, it becomes, "We have told you we will not be part of these conversations."


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Re: When People Try to Influence Your Political Opinions
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2010, 06:03:52 AM »
I friend of mine once told me she'd rather not discuss religion.
She said something like 'Even if you have great arguments, it's not worth it. Win a discussion, loose a friend.'

With that last line she didn't mean it as a threat, but it's more a universal thing. If you really go to debate something when your opinions differ a lot, something will break at a certain point. So ask him if it is really worth it.


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Re: When People Try to Influence Your Political Opinions
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2010, 06:59:56 PM »
I don't think I gave a follow-up to the situation.  Friend came to the game, gave us the DVD which DH put in DD's bag in the back of her wheelchair, and promptly threw it out as soon as we got home. >:D

I haven't seen him since, so I don't know if her remembered that we supposedly had this DVD.  If he says anything, we'll just act vague and say we don't recall what happened to ;)


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Re: When People Try to Influence Your Political Opinions
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2010, 10:36:17 PM »
I'm not sure if it's the most polite reaction, but when I've been in similar situations and someone tried to hand me pieces like this I folded my hands behind my back and just smiled at them until they gave up.  They said some nasty things, but gave up quickly as I wasn't giving a reason for refusing, I was just...not taking it. 


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Re: When People Try to Influence Your Political Opinions
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2010, 05:57:10 PM »
He used to send me those political emails (slanted to his point of view, of course) and I finally told him to stop sending me the emails with all the addresses at the top of the page.  I told him spammers surf the net for addresses and love those emails with tons of addresses.

Well, he scoffed at the idea of anyone surfing the net for addresses.  He said, "well, the only thing to do with paranoid people like you is to stop emailing them!"  ::) Well, yes, that's exactly what I told you - to stop sending me emails...