Is it even possible to have a productive discussion about politics without it becoming a heated argument?

Yes, this can be done if we follow some simple tips.

Listen Actively and With Empathy
That means tuning in to what the other person has to say and doing your best to understand where they're coming from, even if you don't necessarily see eye-to-eye. Respect is essential here! Try to be open-minded and see things from their perspective, even if you don't ultimately agree with them.

Stating Facts
If you are stating something as a fact, take the time to research the topic, and include credible references to back up your statement.

Stating Opinions
If you are stating something as your opinion, clarify that it is only your opinion and explain why you feel that way.

Use "I" Statements
When expressing your opinions and beliefs, use "I" statements instead of attacking the other person's views. For example, say, "I believe that..." instead of "You're wrong because..." This can create a more positive and constructive conversation.

Avoid Personal Attacks
Personal attacks can quickly derail a conversation and make it difficult to find common ground. Stay focused on the issues and avoid attacking the other person's character, beliefs, or intelligence. Remember that you're discussing ideas, not attacking the person.

Misrepresenting The Words of Others
One way a debate gets out of hand quickly is by misrepresenting what others have said in their posts. A lot of this can be prevented simply by using the quote button. If you need clarification on what someone means, take the time to ask them to explain further rather than assuming or using your interpretation of their words.

Open Discussion vs. Inflammatory Topic
There is a fine line between an open discussion and an inflammatory topic that may trigger hate-type debates. As an example, it is perfectly okay to have discussions concerning racism as a whole and how that has an impact on society. When it comes down to it, more often than not, communication is the key to finding solutions to many of the social issues in our lives today. It is not okay to have discussions that attack groups of people, incite hate, or use personal opinion as fact to open a dialog.

Respectful Disagreement
It's okay to disagree but do so in a respectful manner. Use evidence and facts to support your arguments, and be open to hearing the other person's counterarguments. This will allow you to have a lively discussion without becoming an argumentive debate.

Seek Common Ground
Finding things you can agree on can help create a more positive and productive conversation. Look for common ground and build on it. Even if you don't agree on everything, finding some commonalities can help to create a more positive and respectful conversation.

Choose Your Words Carefully
Remember that real people with real feelings are on the other side of the monitor reading your words. Please don't make it personal.

Know When to End the Conversation
Sometimes, a conversation can become heated or unproductive despite our best efforts. If this happens, it's okay to end the conversation. Agree to disagree and move on to another topic. Remember that having a conversation about politics is not about winning or losing; it's about exchanging ideas and learning from one another.

The art of civil discourse can be challenging, but political discussions don't have to be hostile or argumentative. Following these tips allows us to have friendly conversations without starting an argument. What steps have helped you avoid political discussions getting out of hand?