Should You Ask A Potential Boyfriend How He Votes On The First Date?

By Caitlin Shaw
·  6 min read
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It’s no secret that the American political atmosphere has become increasingly polarized within the last decade, making conversations about politics more challenging and uncomfortable than ever.

Traditional advice cautions us from venturing into topics like religion, money, and politics on first dates. However, today more and more love experts and relationship coaches have instead begun encouraging couples to dive into political discussion as early as the first date.

The Case for Avoiding the Question

For decades, singles have been told to avoid any discussion of politics on a first date. Political conversations can be negative, combative, uncomfortable, controversial, and even emotionally taxing. Dating experts historically discouraged political talk early in a relationship and instead advocated for singles to get to know their date for who they are as a person rather than judging them for the political party they’re affiliated with. According to a 2014 article published in Women’s Health, politics is inappropriate to discuss on a first date because you’re not there to change a date’s opinion; you’re there to learn about him as a person. The article does not, however, discourage discussions on current events or news. And if dating someone who shares your political beliefs is vitally important to you, then by all means, express that sentiment.

Traditional advice is still mostly sound, but not all political conversations have to be characterized by hostility and indoctrination. And further, who’s to say that getting to know someone doesn’t include learning about their political leanings? After all, political beliefs directly correlate with values and can teach you a lot about a person, thus making it a potentially relevant first date topic for some.

The Case for Embracing the Ask

Even if you don’t find politics to be all that important to you, a man’s political views can indicate a lot about him – from what he values to how he was raised and how he perceives the world. In many ways, modern dating experts would argue that someone’s political beliefs reflect their values and priorities. With today’s pervasive political landscape, almost any opinion, value, or belief can inevitably be labeled as “political.” So, by learning about your date’s values, you may be indirectly learning about their political leanings. With that logic, it may be best to jump right into political conversations as early as the first date – but really, it’s up to personal preference and how much a man’s political opinions matter to you in a romantic relationship. 

Talking about politics early in a relationship can either force couples to practice conflict management skills, if they hold opposing political beliefs, or bring people closer together if they share opinions. Both of these outcomes are positives, as it’s important to establish intimacy and deal with conflict early in a relationship. The argument has also been made that if politics isn’t brought up on a first date, when should it be discussed? In many ways, it’s advantageous to discuss political opinions as early as possible so that if you uncover a deal-breaker, you can end the relationship and not waste anyone’s time. Dating expert and author of Love in the Age of Trump: How Politics is Polarizing Relationships Julia Spira even argues that not talking about politics early in a relationship shows that you’re apolitical, which can be a big turn-off for some. She adds, “For the first time, differing politics has become the number one deal-breaker in relationships.”

A heated political discussion can increase your chances of getting a second date by 91%.

Still not convinced that you should bring up politics on a first date? Recent studies have indicated that 62% of singles are willing to discuss politics on a first date. In fact, Match surveyed 5,000 single men and women and discovered that a heated political discussion can increase your chances of getting a second date by 91%. I’m not here to tell you to start out every first date by asking about his opinion on abortion laws or gun control, but I do think this data speaks to the attractiveness of being passionate. 

How To Constructively Converse About Politics

If you take away one piece of advice from this article, let it be this: A first date (or even a second, third, etc.) should never be used as a platform to indoctrinate, lecture, or push your opinions onto someone else. Your date has their reasons for holding certain opinions just as much as you have yours, so the best thing you can do is respect those reasons and keep an open mind. There is a huge difference between asking about a date’s political beliefs in a civil, genuine manner, and getting up on a metaphorical soapbox and name-calling or ranting about the opposite political party. Aside from demonstrating respect and maintaining an open mind, try asking questions to learn more about why your date believes what they do. Relationship experts reported to Business Insider that “genuine interest” was one of the eight best qualities to exhibit on a first date because it shows selflessness and compassion. 

If asking a man how he votes is too direct for you, then try asking about his views on certain topics instead. Just because he voted for Donald Trump doesn’t mean he agrees with everything the man says and does. But uncovering those nuances to his political stance is important, and it requires asking follow-up questions. On the flip side, if he asks you about your political beliefs, be honest and confident. Any dating or relationship expert will claim that the best advice for a successful first date is to be yourself, so let that apply to all topics and questions. Research shows that men consider honesty and confidence to be two of the most attractive characteristics in a woman. If you’re not comfortable disclosing your voting habits on the first date, then be honest about that too. But also remember that his reason for asking is likely just to get to know you better.

Closing Thoughts

There is no right or wrong answer to the question of whether politics should be discussed on a first date. However, there are right and wrong ways to go about talking about politics with a potential new boyfriend. Keep the tone of the conversation kind, curious, and respectful. Maintain an open mind and remember that when you ask a question, you have to be prepared for any and all answers. Whether you’re the girl who wants to ignore the existence of political matters or you’re the girl writing to congressmen and organizing a march to Washington, talking about politics is an inevitable part of today’s social interactions.

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