NEW YORK (Christian Examiner) — We've all been there – a newly formed friendship quickly crumbles at the mention of the 2016 election.
As a conservative living in New York City, when someone asks the innocent question, "So who are you voting for?" I give my humble, unwanted answer, but it inevitably ends in anger and frustration.
How could I be such a hater? So bigoted? Close-minded? (And on and on.)
This election year has been rough for all of us – and we've all failed miserably in some way.
We may disagree about the future of America and think it can't get any crazier, but our country has been through much worse.
In 1804 Vice President Aaron Burr fatally shot long-time political opponent Alexander Hamilton in a duel.
Or that the election in 1864 occurred right after 620,000 individuals were killed in the Civil War and an entire half of the country had to put together the pieces of their lives.
I've compiled a few helpful tips on how to survive this election.
1. Keep relationships over politics.
Your family and friends are worth more than your opinions.
Don't unfriend someone on Facebook because of who they're supporting — unless you're not actually friends, then please unfriend that stranger.
2. Be a good listener.
Sometimes wisdom is best shown with a closed mouth and open ears.
Everyone loves a good listener, and showing you're willing to listen builds relationships and you might learn a thing or two.
Even better is being an informed listener. Do your homework so you can be an active listener and give an answer when asked a question.
3. Call Mom and Dad every day.
It's a commandment in the Bible – hear me out. Obey your parents and, BONUS, it will go well with you and you will enjoy long life on the earth. #goals
There's nothing more important than talking with your parents and getting their input – even on politics. I call my mom and dad at least once a day, ideally. Keep them on the "recent calls" list.
While I have disagreed with my parents at varying levels, it's always helpful to hear their perspective. My dad and I have a code for when we've talked too much politics — we say "NP" meaning "no politics" and if either one of us says NP, it's off the table for the rest of the call. (Feel free to take that one free of charge.)
4. Don't take attacks personally.
When someone posts a negative video about your candidate, it's not an attack on you. Don't be ashamed of your beliefs.
And please don't attack people personally for who they're voting for.
5. Admit when you're wrong.
There are no better words in the English language – better yet, election season – than, "I'm sorry – please forgive me." Seriously.
Also, it's okay if you don't know the exact bill your candidate supported 12 years ago, and that's a great chance for further conversation — after the fact.
6. Don't lose your soul.
Take a step back. Breathe. And ultimately be yourself. Yes, you might get into some heated debates. You might lose friends. You might even do something you regret this election cycle. But that's okay. Learn from it and don't beat yourself up over it. That's the beauty of a democratic republic – it's messy and it requires our participation.
As of today, there aren't any perfect candidates or political parties, so this one is pretty easy in theory, but can be hard in practice.
Be active, let your voice be heard, and do not be ashamed, but remember there is more to life than politics.
True hope and change are found in the Lion of Judah, not the Democratic donkey or the Republican elephant.
7. Rest up and have fun.
While you're at it, drink plenty of water. Nobody wants to talk politics with a boring or sickly tired person.
Get away from it all. Turn off the TV. Shut the laptop. Hang up the phone. Observe Sabbath like it's one of the Ten Commandments.
Don't take yourself too seriously.
Share some smiles and laughter. For example, face swap the candidates like I did on Snapchat.
And eat some Chick-fil-A. That makes everything better.
Caleb Parke is a millenial and a graduate of Grove City College. He freelances as a production assistant for FoxNation.com. Click here to visit his website CalebParke.com. Used with permission.