Political season causing tension between friends, family

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton campaigning in West Virginia. (AP photos)

TAMPA, FL (WFLA) — Family feuds, friendships on the rocks, social media blocks, and missed neighborhood block parties — all in the name of politics.

This political season is making waves and friendships are paying the price. In fact, 7 percent of people in a Monmouth poll say they directly lost a friend because of this presidential race.

“People are scared,” said Wendy Rice, a licensed psychologist in Tampa. She went onto explain that people are clearly worried about the direction the country is going and that fear, many times, can spark emotion.

The timing couldn’t be worse, as this is the time of year many family gatherings take place and there’s a good chance the subject will be brought up.

“We are past the point of not talking about politics,” said Rice.

Rice says the “You shouldn’t talk about religion or politics” doesn’t apply when it comes to the politics part of the old-school rule.

The problem is, the subject is breaking up friendships, but Dr. Rice says if you head into your next social gathering with an open mind, it won’t have to.

“Stop thinking ‘I can’t be friends with this person if they support this other candidate’ and try to change your mindset,” Rice said.

Rice suggests asking questions and try to learn about where the other person is coming from with their mind set.

If a heated debate breaks out, Rice strongly suggests taking the high road.

“It’s about taking a deep breath, it’s about sometimes letting the person go off, and just let them vent. Let them say their piece, and realize that it’s their perspective. Try to realize they’re not attacking you even though it might feel that way,”

At the end of the day, Rice recommends reminding yourself that we are a country of checks and balances, and hopefully that will bring you some peace of mind.

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