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MacinVic

How to avoid politics at the dinner table?

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2 hours ago, Downdie said:

Choose a cruise line that few Americans ,especially very conservative ones would be unlikely to sail on. I have since 2004 when I sailed on a MSC ship that few US cruisers knew anything about. But I was wrong. A British couple we met onboard  had your very same experience with some George W Bush supporters in pre-election mode. My five cruises on three different lines have had few Americans aboard. There are a few around, 

I hope you realize that you have injected personal political views into a discussion which  could have been much better conducted on a theoretical rather than personal level.

 

This sort of approach is really the root of the problem.

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I do not understand why some are uncomfortable discussing politics, religion, or money.  Personally, I'm more than willing to enter into a discussion of those subjects.  

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11 minutes ago, RocketMan275 said:

I do not understand why some are uncomfortable discussing politics, religion, or money.  Personally, I'm more than willing to enter into a discussion of those subjects.  

With intelligent and courteous people it is possible to have such discussions - keeping it OBJECTIVE discussing facts - even mentioning the different slants people can take on facts.  What is essential is to simply avoid attempting to convert or convince  - or impose ones own SUBJECTIVE slant on things.  

 

Sadly, the world is not full of intelligent and courteous people.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

We do not want to talk about politics, religion, or public policy or foreign policy.     Nor do we want to talk about medical issues, children, or grandchildren.  So we either avoid the subject or switch tables.  It is really not difficult.

Edited by iancal

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Why not take an aggressive contrary position and have some fun?  "Frankly, I think Donald Trump is a quite suitable choice for a declining nation that is obsessed with guns, is wildly racist, tolerates the recurring mass slaughter of its citizens, claims to be devoutly religious but is the world's leading producer of hard core pornography."  Say it calmly and let the chips fall where they may. 

 

(Note to readers:  I do not ascribe to the above sentiments but use them as an example of how to contend with overbearing blowhards at dinner.) 🙂

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What’s wrong with saying “I prefer not to discuss politics (insert religion, children, money, sex whatever you choose)”, and steer the conversation to how was your day.

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4 hours ago, MacinVic said:

It's been a couple of years now since our last cruise.  We were so put off with our last due to dinner companions with strong political views, that we finally moved to a table for two.

 

We're Canadian and both of us have voted both sides of center over the years, depending on who is running and record to date.  But on our last cruise, we simply couldn't get a table without conservative Americans who felt it was their duty to strongly lecture all the people at the table about the merits of Donald Trump.  Most of these were retirees, apparently well educated and financially comfortable.  This would occur at the assigned dinner tables, and often at lunch and breakfast in the dining room, where you're seated with a different set of strangers at each meal.  It was so bad that we decided we no longer wish to cruise.

 

It almost seems that dining room assignments might have to take political leanings into consideration, when making up the table assignments.

 

Has anyone else experienced this? 

 

Any suggestions for being seated at a non-political table?

 

Well, if you want, you can sit with me and, as an Independent American, I'll ask you about Justin Trudeau and also how you feel about the new oil pipeline...  :-)   (my friends in Alberta don't think much of Mr. Trudeau and are totally for the pipeline).  

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we usually do table for two, but we did have lunch on boarding in San Francisco a few years back right after Trump's victory... interesting we shared a table with another couple, also retirees... husband brought up politics, the couple happened to be black, from the east bay, we live in SF Peninsula... we quickly realized we all voted for Trump for the same reasons.    So not all political discussion end badly... we don't bring up politics but if some one else does we participate politely.    I do not see politics as a taboo subject myself, my husband prefers not to discuss it.

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4 hours ago, MacinVic said:

It's been a couple of years now since our last cruise.  We were so put off with our last due to dinner companions with strong political views, that we finally moved to a table for two.

 

We're Canadian and both of us have voted both sides of center over the years, depending on who is running and record to date.  But on our last cruise, we simply couldn't get a table without conservative Americans who felt it was their duty to strongly lecture all the people at the table about the merits of Donald Trump.  Most of these were retirees, apparently well educated and financially comfortable.  This would occur at the assigned dinner tables, and often at lunch and breakfast in the dining room, where you're seated with a different set of strangers at each meal.  It was so bad that we decided we no longer wish to cruise.

 

It almost seems that dining room assignments might have to take political leanings into consideration, when making up the table assignments.

 

Has anyone else experienced this? 

 

Any suggestions for being seated at a non-political table?

You can always hope your tablemates are from France, Germany and UK and switch the topic to BREXIT.

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Wife really perfers table for two,  we did a European cruise in 2016  before the election and we were joking with several of the Canadians that was in our group that we would be moving to Canada if trump won. 😂😂😂

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1 hour ago, RocketMan275 said:

I do not understand why some are uncomfortable discussing politics, religion, or money.  Personally, I'm more than willing to enter into a discussion of those subjects.  

LOL.  Me too.  But it never ends well 🙂

 

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9 minutes ago, NantahalaCruiser said:

You can always hope your tablemates are from France, Germany and UK and switch the topic to BREXIT.

My fave Brexit photo:

Image result for brexit food photo

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I definitely sympathize with you! Personally, I don't know if I'd be able to keep my mouth shut if the discussion got too political. At an excursion in Sorrento, our large group was portioned into smaller tables. The table across from us was in a deep political discussion that was almost completely opposite from my own views. I was glad that the tablemates of the man who was leading the discussion seemed to be somewhat aligned with his point of view and that they were offering diplomatic responses. Enough to indicate interest, but not enough to encourage continuing the discussion further. 

 

In your situation, I would simply steer the discussion elsewhere. What someone did today and what they plan to do tomorrow tend to be good jumping off points. By giving non-committal responses to people, hopefully they'll get the hint that you're not interested and move to a different topic of discussion. Or, a firm "I'm not interested in discussing politics on my vacation" will likely do the trick. And, if your tablemates continue, ask to be put at a different table the next night. There are lots of people on board, and many likely share the same views on politics at the table as you do! 

 

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We ran into a similar situation at our boarding lunch last year. We are Canadian and there was another Canadian couple and an American couple. The other Canadian couple kept trying to bring up politics -  I felt like they were trying to goad the American couple, in a way. I found it a bit surprising.

 

Luckily, the American couple had been on about 50 cruises all around the globe, and I LOVE talking about cruising, so that kind of stopped the political discussion. There’s always somebody who’s travelled more than me, or to different places.

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We are Canadian and the last time we made the mistake of agreeing to sit at shared table (I think for breakfast), the Americans at the table once finding out that I was a doctor would simply not give up talking about how the US healthcare system was so obviously superior to the Canadian one and how they can’t believe I would practice medicine in Canada when I could make so much more money in the US and blah blah blah.

 

We only take tables for two now (or four if we are travelling with friends). 

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3 hours ago, RocketMan275 said:

I do not understand why some are uncomfortable discussing politics, religion, or money.  Personally, I'm more than willing to enter into a discussion of those subjects.  

Me too.... as long as it's a discussion and not someone preaching to the table. As an American who is confused on the topic, I'd love to talk to different British cruisemates about Brexit.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, clo said:

My fave Brexit photo:

Image result for brexit food photo

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO - Not the Franziskaner!!!  My Weissbier of choice!!!

 

How about some blood sausage to go with the beans?  

Edited by slidergirl

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1 hour ago, CMDE said:

 I LOVE talking about cruising, so that kind of stopped the political discussion. There’s always somebody who’s travelled more than me, or to different places.

 

Thank you for bringing that up! When folks imply that there's nothing to talk about, outside of politics, religion, and money -- they've overlooked the obvious: What brought everyone at that table together, in the first place? A love of cruising, or being with someone who loves cruising -- or even just being curious about whether or not they would love cruising. Folks love to share their travel stories -- both good and bad -- and, it's something that everyone on-board has in common!

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Just wear shoplifter pants, a wife beater, flip flops and a cap on backward.  Everyone will think you’re too stupid to have an intelligent discussion about anything and will not talk to you.  

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Reading through this just reinforces why I rarely join a large table these days, though I use to enjoy them. A table for two or a large group I have helped arranged is fine. 

 

For those implying that the problem lies in those not able to steer the conversation to more equitable subjects...there are some very stubborn and opinionated people in this world...which probably includes myself...though I try to be diplomatic when talking to people face to face.

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, wwcruisers said:

 

Thank you for bringing that up! When folks imply that there's nothing to talk about, outside of politics, religion, and money -- they've overlooked the obvious: What brought everyone at that table together, in the first place? A love of cruising, or being with someone who loves cruising -- or even just being curious about whether or not they would love cruising. Folks love to share their travel stories -- both good and bad -- and, it's something that everyone on-board has in common!

 

I agree good and bad travel experiences are what I enjoy talking about.

 

This was why I used to love sharing tables but unfortunately I have found more often lately we have had a few bad experiences with people discussing politics and money rather than travel.

 

Julie

Edited by frantic36

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A friend of mine once theorized that, at the time of the “Big Bang”, when everything in the universe came into being, there was a finite amount of intelligence, courtesy, and good taste created.  It is therefore obvious that, as the world’s population increases, the average person’s share of intelligence, courtesy and good taste must be lessened.

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I enjoy a spirited political debate when I'm the mood but it's hard to find somebody to debate with.  There is too much scorch the earth mean-spiritedness in politics anymore -- both in the US & with Brexit.  It's not worth starting an argument.  

 

Several years ago on a cruise our CC group had dinner together.  One guy & I were having a lively political debate.  As we carried on debating I realized not too many others in the group were saying anything even to each other.  I stopped, looked at him & said "I think we're making everybody else uncomfortable."  They had never actually seen 2 people debate the issues without it becoming a blood bath.  We were both just so excited to find somebody worthy of debating we forgot that there are reasons many people don't discuss these issues in public because they get too ugly.  When we both assured our dining companions that we were having fun, they went back to chatting with each other & ignoring us because the subject didn't interest them.  

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I’ll gladly trade the political conversations for the ones I often get.  There’s something about me that makes people come right out with the most racially biased remarks I’ve ever heard.  Why they think I’m going to be receptive is a mystery to me.  Many times I’ve just been left with my mouth hanging open, at a loss for for anything constructive to say, other than “Ermm, well.  Could you pass the salt please?”  Calling them out on what they’ve said is just going to spoil my meal, and not change their behaviour, and changing the subject often doesn’t work, they just keep coming back to the same theme.  

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On the last cruise a Canadian brought up American politics to me. I just said I wasn’t interested in discussing it. If he persisted I would have asked for a different table. 

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