Ask Anna Anything: An Advice Column for College Students

As a soon-to-be graduated student of Seattle University, I have spent the last few years of college relying on the good—and the bad—advice I have received from peers, family and friends. Each week I will answer two questions submitted by readers to the best of my ability. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own.

Should I date someone with different political views? Is it something to mention on a first date?

Political polarization in the U.S. is extremely intense right now as the country is split on cultural and social topics. In my experience, the divisiveness has put a dent in some relationships I have with friends and family. This has been really difficult to navigate—particularly with family—because you can’t help how your family or good friends feel about certain issues. 

However, you are the person who can decide at what distance you keep people in your life. You can date whoever you want, the choice is entirely up to you but it is important for you to think of the values and beliefs you hold. Issues could arise from dating someone with different political views and it is ultimately up to you to see what boundaries you may or may not be willing to bend. Now, don’t think too far in advance because you never know which way the relationship will go. 

For me, dating someone with somewhat differing views from mine has been beneficial for us both. I think sometimes I get caught up in defending my point of view that I forget the importance of branching out to hear both sides of an argument. However, with some topics, I have a really difficult time trying to understand the opposite side. Thankfully, my relationships between people with different views have not been extremely opposing, but with certain family and friends, I don’t even see the point of trying to talk to them about issues when they don’t want to have a civil conversation. 

Communicating about beliefs and values is important in any relationship. If you and your partner do not align on certain values, it would probably be good to know that in advance. 

If you want to ask about politics on the first date, then I say go for it. If you would rather wait and discuss it after a few dates or more time together, I think that’s fair as well. I think the most important thing is self-gauging the things you value in a relationship and what you are looking for. If you don’t know where you stand on the things you’re looking for, then date whoever you want and find out through trial and error.

My only other recommendation is to not force any beliefs upon someone. Whether that is religion, politics, etc., trying to force someone to believe exactly what you believe is not fair and not always feasible. We can learn so much from one another’s life experiences, so always go into uncomfortable situations with an open heart and open mind. If you can do that, then I am certain you will find someone—who may even surprise you—that will learn to grow as partners.  

Looking for some advice and wanting to remain anonymous? Submit a question to this form here or email [email protected] for any questions.