How To Avoid A Post-Election Relationship Meltdown

Portrait Of A Young Angry Woman at her home
Portrait Of A Young Angry Woman at her home

Kaylen had worked for him for six years. He was a great boss. He'd mentored her from answering phones at the front desk to a corner office. It was a small architectural firm. However, they were doing some incredible cutting edge work, especially when it came to environmental construction.

He was a good boss. She even considered him a friend, until a few weeks ago when she learned he was very pro-life and planned to vote Republican no matter what because of his pro-life beliefs.

Discussions got heated several times. The breakroom became a treacherous place to hang out. She started avoiding him. She figured it was temporary. However, the day after the election when she came in half an hour late, eyes swollen from crying, he was less than understanding.

He looked at her while proudly sporting his "Make America Great Again" ballcap, and told her she needed to get over it and get on with it. He explained God had delivered the election to Republicans to protect the babies.

And she quit.


We are one-week post-election and the heat of the moment doesn't seem to be cooling off. We are also about one week from the Thanksgiving holiday when families and friends will get together for dinner, football, and the annual conversation about the state of the family and the nation.

And this my friend is an almost untenable reality for a lot of people right now.

I cannot even tell you how many emails I've gotten in the last week from people who can't stand the sight loved ones because of political friction. Well, I will tell you. I've received 67 emails from people asking how to deal with the cavernous divide in their families and other relationships post-election. It's been a part of almost every coaching conversation I've had in the last seven days.

The struggle is real.

I'd like to offer some heartfelt, love and light message that will make it easier or even possible to spend the day or an hour with people you know voted the wrong way and aren't going to shut up about it.

I'd like to say love conquers all and what you need to do is surround yourself with white light and walk in like a goddamn love warrior and you'll be ok.

I don't even have that in me. I've taken the scorched earth approach with my Facebook feed in the last few weeks, so everyone knows I'm not ready to hold hands and pretend we're all getting along.

However, I do know this:
Time is like a river running over rocks. Eventually, it flows over our rough spots and smooths things out without any effort on our part, if we let it. Time doesn't heal all, but it does heal most things.

The thing to do right now is nothing.

If you can't deal with certain people in your life, don't.
Excuse yourself from the festivities. Fain the flu.
Don't talk to people you don't want to talk to.
Don't over-explain. You don't owe anyone an explanation, except maybe your Mama. She doesn't want you showing up to dinner on the verge of tears at all times anyway.

Do not make any absolute decisions about forever. Stay true to how you feel right now, but be willing to allow the air to clear at some point.

The key to success here is simple:
Allow yourself to feel all the anger, resentment, and disgust you might be feeling without resisting it. All feelings are sacred, and many of us are feeling all the feels like a landslide at this point.

However, for the love of God and all things holy, do not act on that by ending relationships right now. We are all too emotional to trust our own judgement when it comes to big decisions.

The best practice for making big decisions is simple. Only make them when you're feeling really good.

Ending a relationship with someone who has been in the landscape of your life for any amount of time is a big decision.

Knowingly putting yourself in a position where you might lay waste to a relationship on "accident" might also be a big decision.

Are you feeling really terrific right now? If the answer is no, relationship decisions are off the table. Thanksgiving dinner might be off the table too.

And here's the thing...
No one is saying you ever have to talk to those idiot former loved ones or friends again. Just because you don't blow a relationship up today doesn't mean you have to nurture it.

You can take a breath and take a break and unless you make a general public service announcement about why you're doing it you are preserving your choices for the future.

Time is a friendly force. Time unveils things we can't see right now. Time takes the sting off things that seem unhealable. Time also brings clarity.

So, if you're wondering how to deal with people in your life you can't even stand to look at my advice to you is easy. Put yourself in timeout and wait a minute, or a week, or maybe four years. The best to do when you don't know what to do is usually to do nothing right now.