Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton

I can see you’re really upset about this. I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill and think things over.

When it comes to soirées, politics is a bit like a pregnant belly. Should you touch it?  While the old rule was to never talk about politics or religion at a party, our latest Party Poll has found that 52% of adults nationwide think it’s perfectly okay to talk politics while socializing. Even if you aren’t part of the oral majority, you’ll want to grab a Berry Cordial and be prepared…especially now. Following are 10 tips from Diane Gottsman, a national etiquette expert, author of Pearls of Polish, and the founder of The Protocol School of Texas, for keeping your political tête-à-têtes at parties as polite as possible.

1. Test the waters. Don’t assume that everyone wants to talk politics and, even if they do, don’t monopolize the conversation with politics.

2. Educate yourself on the issues. It’s important to be at least somewhat familiar with each candidate’s platform to enable a knowledgeable discussion. Being well-informed is always best.

Jane Fonda

Jane Fonda

3. Ask questions. Even if you disagree with others’ comments, show interest and respect by asking pertinent questions. You may be surprised to learn something new.

4. Don’t interrupt. Allow the other person to state his or her opinions without interruption. Allow them the time to make their feelings heard.

Joan Crawford on The Salonniere

Joan Crawford

5. Keep your interactions civil. Never resort to name calling or shame tactics, e.g., “How in the world can you like him?” or “I can’t believe you’re that ignorant!”

6. Keep your voice down. Don’t allow yourself to get worked up and start a shouting match with your fellow guests. Your host will thank you for not inciting further furor among his or her guests.

7. Be ready to pivot. Have other conversation topics handy in your conversational arsenal to pull from if the conversation becomes too heated.

James Dean Photo on The SalonniereJames Dean

8. Be ready to opt out. If you’re not interested in engaging in political chat, simply say something along the lines of, “I’m off political debate duty tonight.”

9. Don’t take disagreements personally. Keep the discussion in perspective and ask yourself how much anxiety and conflict you’re willing to undergo by arguing over who the better candidate is.

10. Never ask people how they intend to vote. It’s invasive unless the information is offered.

Talking Politics at Parties Welcome Mashup

Welcome photo: Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton
Welcome quote: 2001: A Space Odyssey, 1968