Never talk about religion or politics, the saying goes. These topics can get fiery – even between good friends and family members – so can be seen as particularly risky to discuss on a date. The conversation goes against every cliché rule in the dating rulebook, along with seeming too keen and messaging too soon…
But if you’re trying to meet your life partner, it’s important that you understand their views, respect them, and have the right relationship dynamics to be able to have a healthy exchange of ideas and even a good debate.
Why politics HAS to be on the table
We’re all trying to navigate 2020 through its twists and turns. Our lives (and even our dating lives!) are being ruled by the government’s decisions, meaning we’re more tuned into politics than ever before.
Gen Zs are on the cusp of adulthood (and are a very politically charged generation) while millennials are fully integrated into society and are becoming trailblazers in their own way. Millennials are often still thought of as “young people” but – reality check – a lot of millennials are in their mid-to-late 30s now and are engaged individuals who take an interest in the world around us.
We care passionately about our country and its future, which is probably why the topic of politics seems to be coming up in the dating world more frequently.
Since lockdown in the UK, the term ‘vote’ has increased by 300% in conversations on Inner Circle,and the term ‘government’ has shot up by 60%. Other global events are also driving conversations, with the term ‘politics’ rising by 150% on 6th June coinciding with the Black Lives Matter movement.
These days, politics is far from taboo. In fact, having strong opinions is increasingly seen as an attractive quality. Seven in ten (70%) singles would actually view their match in a more positive light if they had strong political views. It’s certainly an attractive quality to me.
No time to skirt around the topic
This trend is about more than a generation of politically engaged daters. The car crash of 2020 has left singles feeling lost and hard done by, with our own research revealing that seven in ten (70%) say their ideal ‘life plan’ has been delayed because of lockdown.
This makes people feel like there is no time to waste. They are being more direct about what they want out of a relationship and taking steps to make sure their match shares their values and interests. There’s no time to date someone for four months and then find out you fundamentally disagree on something that is a dealbreaker.
Now is a good time to meet like-minded people who are equally determined to make up for lost time – so we’re seeing people being more honest on their profiles about the issues that really matter to them.
When politics should be a dating dealbreaker
Political views can be deeply entwined with personal values, so it is inevitable that – for many people – this becomes a dating dealbreaker.
If you’re a person who likes a heated discussion, you might be okay dating someone with a different perspective. Or you may be a couple where tensions never really rise, and you learn more about the world by listening to each other’s perspectives. Sometimes, people have opposing views, but it never becomes an issue because they learn how to engage in conversation without being overbearing.
Some couples can be successful in spite of wildly different beliefs – but this is the exception, not the rule. Most people on our app want to meet someone with shared values and interests, all of which are entangled in a person’s political view. This removes any potential future conflicts, which is particularly important right now when lockdown restrictions are more divisive than Brexit.
You might be able to agree to disagree – but the way that people express themselves says something about how they will behave in a relationship. We tell singles to pay as much attention to this as their fundamental beliefs. If someone says ‘no to Tories’ on their dating profile, this is a more confrontational approach than if they said ‘ideally looking to meet someone who shares my left views’.
Initiating the conversation
If you know it’s important that you are on the same political page as your match, you should feel comfortable to have that discussion early on – whether that’s on a date or on your profile.
You don’t need to ask your date lots of specific questions to sound them out. Often, you will learn just as much about their views through conversations around work, passions, or personal experiences.
And remember – most people are open to it. In fact, less than 10% of singles find it unattractive if their match has political views. The majority of singles take a keen interest in discussing and sharing their opinions – so you should feel confident bringing it up on a date.
You might not hear what you were hoping for, but it is best that you know where your match stands sooner rather than later. If you’re not on the same page, see it as an opportunity to learn and time saved in the long run.