“None of my liberal friends invite me to dinner anymore,” lawyer Alan Dershowitz said
The hottest new fad is the Donald Trump diet.
Defense lawyer Alan Dershowitz says he’s been iced out by former political allies and friends — all because of his opinion that POTUS can’t be convicted of obstructing justice for axing an FBI head (and conservatives’ hearty embrace of it). “None of my liberal friends invite me to dinner anymore,” the longtime liberal attorney told the Washington Post. “Thanks to Donald Trump, I’ve lost seven pounds. I call it the Donald Trump diet.”
If you’ve had a major political clash with friends or family this past year — regardless of whether you’re the shunned or the shunner — you may want to skip the wreath and try an olive branch this holiday season. Here’s how to mend fences before (or, in a pinch, during) your annual seasonal get-together, according to etiquette experts:
Appeal to a tradition or memory you share. “This is not your time to still try to drive home your point or why you believe what you believe,” etiquette expert Elaine Swann told Moneyish. Instead, focus on the relationship you’re trying to fix — acknowledging you don’t see eye to eye, but affirming that your bond is what’s most valuable. Hark back to a fun trip or a fond memory, Swann added: “something that bonds the two of you together that you can reach back on.” You both probably miss margarita night.
Focus on the issue at hand, not the person. “Do your best to separate your feelings towards the family member from the interpersonal conflict at hand,” etiquette expert Sharon Schweitzer said. “While you may feel strongly about the political issue in question, don’t let these sentiments taint your relationship. Remember that differences in opinion are rarely irreconcilable, and be respectful of their point of view.”
Settle in for some venting. “To mend a fence, you have to let them vent and then you just have to let it go,” Schweitzer said. Her own personal pro tip: Gently bite the inside of your lip while they’re speaking — that way, you can’t interrupt. “The other thing I’ll do is close my mouth and look at them and count backward from 100.” Listen for 80% of the conversation and talk 20% of it, she said.
Realize it’s going to get emotional. And that’s OK. “It’s going to happen. You don’t avoid it,” Swann said. “Get emotional and work your way through that emotion, but don’t be so emotional that you don’t finish the task, which is to try to repair the relationship.”
Consider hitting the reset button. “Avoid another argument. It’s time to call it water under the bridge; letting bygones be bygones,” Schweitzer said. “Starting a new chapter of cordial relations is often the most mature way to (defuse) drama and move forward.”
Look at the big picture. “At the end of the day, yes, all this matters — but what really matters is that relationship,” international etiquette and protocol expert Joy Weaver said. “And if something really big happens like sickness, death, illness … all of this is going to take a backseat.”
Set ground rules. “If that means no politics talk and (focusing) on one another,” Swann said, then consider that option. “Whatever divided you, you can’t go back and start doing the same thing over again … You’re going to have to institute something. Figure out between you what that something is.”
Follow up with a nice card. “I know this sounds so corny, but I really believe in this stuff,” Swann said. Such a gesture can convey that you value the person’s friendship and look forward to moving past your rough patch. “Especially if you were the offender,” she said, “it just seals the deal on your sincerity.”
Understand your efforts might be in vain. “You’re not always going to get it right, so don’t beat yourself up,” Schweitzer said. Whether the other person is grateful for your efforts or unforgiving, congratulate yourself for taking that productive step. “That is personal growth,” she said. “What better way to end the year and look forward to a new one than to reach out and make an attempt to mend a fence?”
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