how to show good manners when talking politics 830x430

How to Show Good Manners When Talking Politics

In the not so distant past, politics was off-limits as a topic for polite conversation, along with religion, money and sex. We can only assume that, back then, dinner parties were rather quiet and dull affairs. Nowadays, a gentleman is expected to have an understanding of current affairs, both because in the words of John Donne “No man is an island” and because having informed opinions makes for interesting debates at social gatherings.
So how does one remain respectful and calm when debating politics, particularly at a time when our MPs are losing their composure on a daily basis in front of the cameras?

The etiquette of discussing politics

1. Mind the circumstances
Although a respectful conversation on politics is perfectly acceptable, there are still occasions when it is frowned upon, such as weddings, funerals and very formal soirees.

2. Be informed
A gentleman will always be cultivating his personality and interests. Rather than expressing ill-informed opinions, engage with the world around you and discuss facts, not rumours. Another buzz killer is sharing your (strong) political views, only to then say that you won’t actually vote. Oh, be quiet then.

3. Show your true colours
Any party affiliation or personal interest, should be disclosed from the start to avoid the awkwardness when people discover who you are. Similarly, if you arrange e.g. an event to promote a specific candidate, inform your guests in advance of your intentions.

4. Assume nothing
This is a very common trap. Just because someone has a certain profession, social circle or background, you shouldn’t assume their views and any camaraderie. Talk and listen respectfully.

5. Strangers in the night
Talking to strangers is quite unavoidable at parties and you never know what you might come up against. If you want to feel your way around a person or situation before sharing your thoughts, a good strategy is to return the question, e.g. “What do you think about x?” “Well, I would be really keen to hear what YOU think about x”.

6. Keep it clean
It goes without saying that your manners should never run out, even if your patience does. Avoid insulting or interrupting people when you don’t like what you are hearing. Who knows? You might learn something new or understand a position you don’t agree with. Besides, when you have good manners, one may disagree with you but one will never consider you anything less than a gentleman.

7. Know when to wrap up
If the conversation is dragging on or turns into bickering, wrap up politely and firmly, e.g. “I will definitely consider that” is one of our favourite lines! If you are the unfortunate host and your guests are having a Brexit showdown, politely intervene and change the topic.

Sticking to pleasantries is safe but rarely results in meaningful conversations or successful networking. A gentleman knows that looks are only important when there is a personality to match them, so pick your limited edition 3 piece suit from our latest collection, grab the newspaper and get learning about the world around you. You never know when you might be asked your opinion about the latest episode of parliamentary drama.