How To Respond When Your Date Doesn't Want To Talk Politics

There are a million things to think about on a date. You want to keep it laid back and light but you also want to get to know the other person through meaningful conversation. So what are the best topics to bring up? Should you discuss careers and families? What about expectations for the future? And, most intimidatingly, what about politics?

Politics can be a touchy subject but it's super important to tackle early on in a budding relationship. As the world feels increasingly politically divided, studies have shown that political differences are a major tell in a relationship's potential. One poll found that more than 85% of participants thought it would be a challenge to date someone who subscribed to opposing political ideologies (via YouGov). It might seem like something you could overlook for a while — or at least ignore if it's not election season — but experts think differently. "What is political is also personal and what is happening in the macro profoundly shapes the micro," Alexandra Solomon, a clinical psychologist, told The Economist when discussing the important role politics plays in romance.

You might inherently know that finding someone who shares your values, or at least can respect them, is of paramount importance to you. But you may find yourself on a date with someone who'd rather not get into it, and initiating the conversation can be intimidating. So, here's how to tackle the conversation even if your date doesn't seem too keen on sharing their political views.

Why talk politics

Talking about politics with family and close friends can feel high stakes, and with a date you've just met, it feels downright impossible. "For the first time, differing politics has become the number one deal-breaker in relationships," author Julie Spira told Elite Daily. "If your partner doesn't feel like you do about women's rights, children separated at the border in cages, and healthcare, your values won't be aligned," she added.

Statistics back up Spiras' claims. A 2015 study of more than 4,000 participants revealed that women generally find political alignment more important than their male counterparts. That's why it's crucial to figure out where you both stand, if not on the first date, then at least early on. Think of politics like other major life issues you'd want to know your potential partner's stance on, such as children, finances, and religion. "Two very polar opposite views may be easy to ignore to start off with but can quickly be the cause of some bigger issues later on," relationship and sex expert Annabelle Knight told The Mirror.

Some singles slip into the false hope that even if you and your date have polar opposite political views, you can still make it work – Knight cautions against that thinking. "But politically, it's very, very tricky, especially if you are getting embroiled in human rights issues, for example. Then it is very difficult to reconcile two polar opposite views," she said. That's why it's best to get those uncomfy convos out of the way earlier on — even if your date doesn't want to.

How to bring it up

If you find yourself out to dinner with someone who falls into the latter category, there are a couple of ways you bring it up without being too abrupt. First, try and ask open-ended questions that can lead to more conversation, giving you a deeper understanding of your potential partner. You don't have to ask point blank, "How do you vote?" Instead, bring up current events that might shed some light on their political leanings. Asking a date if they're vaccinated or if they recycle could be ways to ease into a more politically oriented conversation — or give you some insight on where they stand.

Remember, this shouldn't be a debate. It's a way to figure out if you want to move forward with this potential relationship. "You really need to understand yourself, your own boundaries on these topics and — whilst being open to others' views — know what exactly it is that would make you either walk away or what you'd be able to see through and work together," relationship coach Christiana Maxion told Cosmo.

"Some people may think that 'taboo' topics should be avoided on a first date, but that's actually the wrong strategy if you're looking for something real and long-term," relationship expert Laurel House added when speaking to the outlet. At the end of the day, some people can make political differences work, and some can't. But either way, you'll want to test your potential partner's ability to tackle difficult subjects with you. If they resist the conversation, be transparent about your purpose regarding the subject. Getting over this first uncomfortable hurdle together may just give you a solid foundation for an awesome relationship.