By Giovanna Maselli

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Passing the gravy can quickly escalate to a debate on passing tax or immigration reform, especially during the holidays.

And with a charged political climate like now, things could get contentious during a Thanksgiving meal.

But there are ways you can help diffuse the situation without ignoring the topics.

According to medical expert Katherine Hertlein, with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, there are some ways to navigate potential political discord.

  • Have realistic expectations – Not all family members share your point of view. By accepting this, it will help reduce your reactivity to a family member’s opposing views.
  • Be curious – Most people expressing their views don’t do it to purposely cause harm. Try adopting the curious stance where you ask questions to fully understand the other person’s point of view. This may help you find areas where you could have things in common.
  • Buy time –  When people express views that might oppose yours, it’s easy to react emotionally rather than taking a more balanced approach. Sometimes it’s better to say things like ‘I’ll get back to you’ or ‘I need some time to think about it.’ This will give you time to find a way to communicate your message in a more balanced manner.
  • Recognize their value system– Try to recognize if the person’s opposing view comes from not just opinion but good intention like a concern for children or healthcare.
  • When in doubt, find a way out – As a last resort, if you think a certain conversation will go nowhere and only cause harm then, sometimes it’s better to separate yourself physically. Make an exit plan ahead of time.
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