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How to Handle Politics in the Office

I've seen some posts about avoiding political discussions in the workplace, which I fully agree with. My question is what to do when a colleague or colleagues bring up politics consistently?


The comments aren't malicious and are primarily made in an attempt at humor, but in our current political environment it doesn't take much to create a negative response. There have also been instances of political apparel or paraphernalia being present on team video calls. No matter which side you're on I think it is inappropriate to bring into the workplace.


Do you think this is worth bringing to HR? Or a manager? Or keep my mouth shut and deal with it?

🐱 Off-Topic
22
CuriousFox
WR Officer
+13
Senior Account Executive
Smile, say wow that's crazy, and speaking of crazy check out these TPS reports...
poweredbycaffeine
WR Lieutenant
+10
Bean Juice Drinker | Sales Savant
Gonna need you to come in on Saturday to get those done...
CuriousFox
WR Officer
+13
Senior Account Executive
I can't. I have a meeting with the Bobs.
Show 1 more replies
ChiDawg
Tycoon
+9
Senior Account Executive
Typically pretty close to what I already do. Ignore the comment and move back to whatever we were talking about.Β 
WomenWantMeFishFearMe
Politicker
+4
SDR LXIX
Good. If they consistently bring it up, they may be attempting to goat you into a politics convo to sus out your political leanings. Just keep smiling and nodding. It’s better to be the office dolt who everyone finds friendly and delivers on numbers rather than the office politico.
UserNotFound
Politicker
+10
Mid Market Manager
Favorite movie quote of all time β€œknow what I’d do if I had a million dollars? Two chicks at the same time” gets me every damn time. πŸ˜†
CuriousFox
WR Officer
+13
Senior Account Executive
Fucking A.
poweredbycaffeine
WR Lieutenant
+10
Bean Juice Drinker | Sales Savant
Have you tried handling this head-on with the person you're referring to? Candor is often the most positive way to handle the situation--might be worth a shot?
ChiDawg
Tycoon
+9
Senior Account Executive
These typically occur in group settings (should have included that in the post), which makes it more difficult to address without embarrassing the person. I appreciate the feedback.Β 
poweredbycaffeine
WR Lieutenant
+10
Bean Juice Drinker | Sales Savant
Oh, don't do it in a group--make it a private conversation and explain how you don't feel it's appropriate to have those kinds of remarks made at work. If that doesn't feel comfortable to you, then yes, HR is a safe bet.
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UrAssIsSaaS
Politicker
+8
SaaS Eater
This is such a slippery slope, I wouldnt go to manager or HR because youre going to destroy trust and morale there. Have a convo when it happens and try not to let it build up anymore. Next time they say something use it as an opportunity to have the convo in real time.Β 
ChiDawg
Tycoon
+9
Senior Account Executive
I appreciate the insight. This typically happens in group settings, so finding the right opportunity has been more difficult.Β 
UrAssIsSaaS
Politicker
+8
SaaS Eater
Ya 100% dont do it in front of everyone, but after people disperse you can say something. And if you arent comfortable then you can go to HR. I personally prefer doing it myself but can appreciate not wanting to go that route.Β 
CaneWolf
Politicker
+12
Call me what you want, just sign the damn contract
As much as I respect @poweredbycaffeine or @UrAssIsSaaS , I disagree completely on the apparel/paraphernalia. Flag to HR (without going into specifics on people or persuasion) that people are bringing that stuff into the office. That'll take care of that specific piece.
poweredbycaffeine
WR Lieutenant
+10
Bean Juice Drinker | Sales Savant
I was referring to the comments/remarks. I don't like to get involved with personal dress or accessories and would agree with your HR move in this case.
UrAssIsSaaS
Politicker
+8
SaaS Eater
Many ways to skin the cat
alecabral
Arsonist
+9
Director - Digital Sales Transformation
What @poweredbycaffeineΒ said, and if that doesn't work and you still feel stressed about this, that's what HR (or their hotline if there's one) is there for.
InQ5WeTrust
Arsonist
+9
Sales Savages, what is our profession? Trauma!
You have to assert dominance by out crazying them. I recommend talking about big foot or crypto, either of those typically work.Β 
DungeonsNDemos
Politicker
+10
Rolling for Initiative
When someone tell you that the moon is controlling people's minds, just reply "wow this guy still believes the moon is real"
InQ5WeTrust
Arsonist
+9
Sales Savages, what is our profession? Trauma!
'this guy doesn't think its a giant Jewish death star, what an idiot!'Β 
WomenWantMeFishFearMe
Politicker
+4
SDR LXIX
Yes.
Beans
Politicker
+9
Account Executive
I'm in Canada so it's no where near as vitriolic - personal advice would just be honest that you don't like talking politics at the shop.Β 

I do like the idea of mentioning to HR that it's not really a great idea to rep either side on calls, internal or otherwise due to the divisive nature of opinions these days.
Fo
FormerStartupJobHopper
Big Shot
+7
AE
Just don't play into the conversation, essentially shut down when it comes up and make it like talking to a wall. Theoretically they should lose interest sooner or later. If they really insist on cornering you, just be somewhat honest and say "sorry I don't like to talk politics at work". They might hit you with "its not politics its HUMAN RIGHTS" or "so that means you support X"Β 

"Take it how you want, I'm not trying to be rude but I don't talk politics at work"
WomenWantMeFishFearMe
Politicker
+4
SDR LXIX
No one I work with would like my politics. I have β€œcome out” as a conservative to the close people on the team I trust, and everyone else I keep at a distance. Basically I talk work and only work, with the occasional reference to my weekend plans etc. I don’t make work friends. I make connections. My friends are separate from coworkers and for good reason.
TheOverTaker
Politicker
+9
Account Executive
you could just take the opposite stance of anyone who talks about it. No matter what you really feel. Vehemently defend the opposite. Switch sides for whoever brings it up. Create mass confusion. Use conspiracy theories to back your claims.

Or just ignore it like I do. The first answer would probably be more fun though
CuriousFox
WR Officer
+13
Senior Account Executive
I'd go on that journey with you! 🀣
TheOverTaker
Politicker
+9
Account Executive
its a wild ride. did you hear about how the Berenstain Bears are part of a multi-verse like conspiracy?
Diablo
Politicker
+7
AE
Open up and talk face2face and don't forget to gel well (no conflicts 😬)
se
sellingsellssold
Politicker
+7
SDR
The best way is to just not say anything or to agree with whatever they are saying. This leads to less conflicts I have found.Β 
cw95
Politicker
+6
Sales Development Lead
Just say β€˜fuck meeeee politics again’ and change the subject
DungeonsNDemos
Politicker
+10
Rolling for Initiative
If it's someone who reports to you, I'd address it with candor, as @poweredbycaffeine mentioned.
But if not, then it's not worth it to me. It will work itself out one way or another and you can just focus on your own stuff.Β 
I agree, the office is not the place to bring it up.
FromaBlankPerspective
Politicker
+5
District Manager
I think there's probably a middle ground here where you can bring it up to them. Next time they try and bait you into a political conversation, give them an eye-rolly "wow, you're REALLY into XXXX candidate/topic" and if they press you on why you aren't tell them you don't think it's appropriate at work. If it continues to happen from there, you have already established your boundaries and then you can escalate if needed.Β 
torontowarroomrep
Politicker
+5
Account Executive
I'd probably do my best to steer clear of it all. If you can't then yeah perhaps engage with HR just to be safe.Β 
ColdCallFartBoy
Celebrated Contributor
+9
Business Development Representative
I'd just keep my mouth shut. It's usually never worth the conversation that followsΒ 
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