By Helen Mamo
For Unwind magazine
The 2016 election has left many people on edge for various reasons, and as a result sparked a trend online. Following the election, many Facebook users found themselves “unfriended” by those who disagreed with their political views. First dates are all about making a good impression and trying to get to know someone, but how can politics get in the way?
A Tumblr post by user tshifty went viral and summed up the trend, stating, “when I say ‘unfollow me if you support Trump’ I’m not saying it ironically. No, seriously, if you support Trump then I don’t want your disgraceful ass to be in any way associated with my blog. Get out.”
Regardless of your personal opinion on the reactions of those opposed to President-elect Donald J. Trump, it’s incredibly clear that this political season is a touchy subject for most.
Political arguments are nothing new, which is why it’s generally considered polite to leave subjects like politics and religion off the table. However, with this election being so divisive, along with the ability people have to publicly share their opinions on social media, these topics may hold more importance in potential relationships or hook-ups.
Junior public health sciences major Katie Lindsey said that she thinks people shouldn’t actively avoid discussing politics on a first date if they know how to handle themselves during the conversation.
Lindsey, a registered Democrat, said, “If you’re the type of person to be offended when people have different values then no maybe don’t bring up politics – or [don’t] date in general – but I like it because it gives a better idea of what’s important to that person.”
On the other side of the spectrum, junior finance and information systems major Noah Polonsky thinks that bringing up politics on a first date is completely inappropriate. Polonsky did not like either candidate in this last election and chose to sit out Election Day.
Polonsky said that keeping one’s values to themselves at times is an important quality, and he personally tries to avoid bringing up this touchy subject because, “it’s not like you are going to change anybody’s opinion.”
“It could get awkward fast and possibly even lead to a bad first night out,” he said.
Sean Campbell, a junior exercise science fitness specialist major at West Chester University, offers a middle ground perspective.
“It’s a good idea to bring up personal beliefs, but politics themselves can get ugly and detract from the original point of the question,” said Campbell, a registered Republican. He generally avoids the topic until the relationship progresses.
Campbell mentioned that he thought avoiding politics as a whole wasn’t beneficial, but rather going about things on a “case by case” basis is more appropriate.
In the case of one night stands, opinions don’t seem to change for those on either side of the conversation. Lindsey wouldn’t force it, but wouldn’t be opposed to the conversation, whereas Polonsky would rather not discuss it at all.
Campbell on the other hand said that in this case he wouldn’t “waste the time [because] it doesn’t really seem like it’s going to be a substantive conversation,” but rather a brief exchange of general pleasantries.
Thanks to this year’s election, the possibilities for a date to become awkward in the wake of political discussion seem to be at an all time high. Here’s to hoping you go out on a first date with someone who’s on the same page as you.