Once upon a time, I was caring for a patient during one of my school rotations. This was around the time of the election, and his family were having a very heated political discussion amongst themselves. This is always
a red flag for me, as I never get involved in political conversations with anyone if I can help it-- all it brings is negativity and arguments, both of which are counterintuitive to the nurse-patient relationship. I simply go on about taking care of my job, smile, and say nothing about it. All shift long, we seemed to have had great rapport, and we were all getting along very well.
I thought that being ambiguous and keeping my head down would help me avoid it.
I was wrong.
One of the family members kept asking me about my political affiliation and who I voted for. I smiled and gently rebuffed her by saying that my political are deeply personal to me and that my vote and my beliefs are kept private. But she wasn't satisfied with my answers and kept asking me about it, over and over.
Who did you vote for? Who are you gonna vote for? How do you feel about so-and-so? Who did you vote for?
I don't even know why it was so important to them to find out, anyway. We don't have matching opinions about the subject of debate (I am a conservative, while the family held democratic beliefs), which was why I was so insistent about sidestepping the conversation. Things would have gone south immediately.
I kept giving her the same answer, and eventually she backed off. While things remained largely pleasant for the rest of my shift, they seemed somewhat less comfortable with me than they had been before, as if I'd given them reason to mistrust me.
This has also not been the first time this has happened to me before, either. Some examples:
- People asking me why nobody has gotten me with child yet (?!?! )
- What my orientation is (same person as #1)
- What my religion is (I can understand this one, but I am agnostic and the people asking me are usually extremely religious, so dealing with it is difficult for me)
This thread does not strictly have to concern politics, but rather personal or intimate questions in general. I was wondering if any of you have any special ways of nixing these ill-fated conversations? What is the best way to back out of these trap conversations and still remain professional about it?