News & Politics

How to Be Friends With Someone Whose Politics You Disagree With

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Our expert: Former senator Tom Coburn, a Republican from Oklahoma, who formed an enduring friendship with Barack Obama during orientation for new senators in 2005.

Don’t make topics off-limits. “You can’t avoid politics in Washington.”

Do say you’re sorry. “The whole key to friendship is reconciliation. When you offend someone, you apologize.”

Don’t take it personally. “We’re pretty sensitive as humans. We think things are directed at us. Usually, nobody ever intended to offend you.”

Don’t accentuate the differences. “Accentuate what you agree on.”

Do remember that it’s a person, not a set of ideas. Judge someone “on their actions and how they relate to you personally,” not strictly on that person’s views.

Read more advice, tips, and tricks from Washington natives in our Secrets of the City package.

This article appears in our January 2016 issue of Washingtonian.