Can two people who have very different views politically get along with each other? And perhaps even like each other? We talked with two former state legislators—from the opposite side of the aisle—to hear how they were able to work together and form a genuine friendship. In this video excerpt from our Building Bridges video series, watch former state representative David Rutledge describe the key to navigating disagreements and preserving friendships.   

David says, “Let me suggest – how we managed to get along even though we are from different political parties. We had a relationship and we talked about various things, but let me tell you, Amanda and I disagreed on a lot of stuff – vehemently. But by contrast, we agreed on some things too.

But this is the point: our disagreements our never descended into a dislike for each other. I knew her, understood where she was coming from, but that was only because I took the time to listen to her and to try to understand the “why” the behind some of the some of her philosophical-based positions and why she approached an issued the way that she did.”

So here are a few suggestions for maintaining the lines of communication when you disagree with someone:

Maintain open and respectful communication: It is important to engage in open and respectful communication, allowing both individuals to express their views without judgment or personal attacks. This creates an environment where differences can be discussed without causing animosity, enabling a deeper understanding of each other’s perspectives.

Seek common ground and shared values: Despite having different political views, finding areas of agreement and shared values can help build a foundation for a strong friendship. Focusing on these commonalities can foster a sense of camaraderie and strengthen the relationship, even in the face of disagreements on other topics.

Practice active listening and empathy: Taking the time to actively listen and empathize with the other person’s point of view is crucial. By genuinely seeking to understand their reasoning and motivations, you can develop a deeper appreciation for their perspective, reducing the likelihood of negative feelings and fostering a sense of understanding and respect.

For more on our Building Bridges video series with Amanda Price and David Rutledge, click here.

Photo by Rod Long from Unsplash

Jennifer Miller

Jennifer Miller

Jennifer Miller loves her husband, kids, cats, and a clever pun. She is the founder of People Equation, a leadership communications advisory firm.


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