How to maintain friendships while watching the election results

Disclaimer: I have yet to successfully enact any of these suggestions. Side effects of overzealous and hostile speech patterns include: friend loss, hoarse throat and delusional behavior.

Watch parties can be a great space for educated political discourse, or they can be a catalyst for apocalyptic, friendship-destroying, competitive ideological battles that often include name-calling like Guevarian communist or Milton Freidman incarnate. To avoid splitting your friend group down party lines, make sure to keep in mind the following on election night:

1. Passive aggression is better than physical aggression.
When your friend approaches you after his or her party just won a swing state, do not respond by excessively detailing the ways in which your party’s candidate can still win or why that swing state matters in the election about as much as Jerry matters to the Department of Parks and Recreation. That will only lead to an unnecessary web of ifs (Read: the New York Times 512 Paths to White House infographic). Rather, I propose a more passive aggressive approach but not one blatant enough to strike tension. Try eating all the heads off of some elephant or donkey shaped cookies to channel your hostility toward inanimate objects as opposed to the people you love.

2. Dub—don’t mug.
Fox News or MSNBC or ABC or Comedy Central? You are constantly going to be encountering this question throughout the night as people vie for their biased news site to be the featured channel of choice. Whenever someone turns to Fox News, my first instinct is to spit out Regina George’s infamous line—Boo you, whore. In an effort to avoid using this tactic, try switching back and forth between a number of different channels to appease everyone. When an unappealing news program pops up, try mentally (this is key, do not do this verbally) dubbing over everything the newscaster is saying so as to avoid repeated heavy sighs of exasperation that may spark a fight. So when Bill O’Reilly says “Obama doesn’t seem to be looking good across the board,” you can really just hear, “Obama mustn’t mean to be cooking a food smorgasbord.”

3. Dough to Door can be a learning tool.
Expect to be in the presence of a few friends mumbling all night that the popular vote really isn’t that important, and they didn’t vote because it just doesn’t matter. If you are inclined to discuss the merits of the popular vote versus the electoral college, I highly encourage that. However, it you are just annoyed by the incessant mumbling, try exemplifying the merits of voting in a semi-non-confrontational way. For example, take a poll of what types of Dough to Door cookies you should order to share with everyone as you all await the incoming results. When your friends lacking political efficacy voice their opinion, calmly and respectfully say, “I’m sorry. Only those who believe popular votes are significant can have a say in the cookie election.”

4. If all else fails: Settle.
No, I’m not talking about settling on the issues at hand, finding a common ground between two sides. I’m talking about whipping out that Settlers of Catan game you have sitting on your shelf in the corner and channeling your election anxiety or frustration or even glee into an hour-and-half game of strategy, conquest and domination. Once you achieve that monopoly on the wood resource, the election tensions will all wash away.

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