How to Host a Dinner Party With Guests Holding Opposing Political Views

Hosting a dinner party with the even the most well behaved guests can be dicey, however throw a group of people together with differing political opinions and you could have complete and utter chaos. How can you put a dinner party together and include guests who have opposing political views?


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    Know where your guests stand on political issues. Before you formulate your guest list know where each guest stands on politics and whether political issues are a hot topic.
    • Identify which side of the aisle each guest falls. You don’t have to ask them point blank, but recall the last political comment that was made by each guest. This may also be a good time to consider whether your guest gets hotheaded when discussing politics, doesn’t really have an opinion or seems to be able to gracefully discuss politics with just about anyone.
    • Make sure your party doesn’t turn into a one-sided affair. Of course if all your friends are from the same political party or hold the same political values, it’s a no brainer, however if you have a few friends with differing opinions, don’t invite seven guests who believe strongly in one party and only one or two who have other beliefs. This could not only create an uncomfortable situation for your two guests, but if the conversation becomes heated, guests in the minority could feel ganged up upon.
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    Create a “winning” seating arrangement. Strategic seating will get you through an evening with people who may have opposing political views.
    • Consider if some of your guests can actually get along even though they have differing opinions. Although your first instinct is to group people together with similar opinions, consider if you can seat two people together who have opposing views. If both guests have historically been able to keep their cool and sense of humor when discussing politics or enjoy a rousing discussion they may make for exciting dinner companions.
    • Create a table dynamic so you partner more peaceful people around negative naysayers. Diffuse any negativity that may plague your party by seating the positive, peace making guests near those who may be heat headed or looking to pick a political fight.
    • Pepper neutral or nonpolitical guests between the strong opinionated diners. If you seek the quell political discussion, have guests who seem to not really care about politics sit near folks who tend to take their political discussions through the roof. Once the political banter begins, the neutral guest may steer the conversation toward other topics.
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    Lay down some ground rules. If you know that this group is going to ultimately turn the conversation to politics make sure everyone knows what is on or off limits.
    • Debate is good, however name calling or being mean spirited is not. Make sure everyone at your party knows that basic playground rules apply. No name calling, low blows or fist fights (may be worth a mention considering the group). For example, just because one guest may completely disagree with another’s political opinion is no reason to call him/her a moron or an idiot.
    • Set aside a certain amount of time the group can spend on politics. If this group loves to dive into politics but you really don’t want it to take over the entire party, lightly announce (with a smile) that the group should only focus on politics for the next 10 minutes and then you are hijacking the conversation to talk about something else.
    • Turn politics into a funny game. For example, if you know the conversation could go south insist that every guest end his or her serious political statement with “in bed” or something ridiculous to keep the mood light.
    • Have a moderator from each side keep emotions in check. Pull a few folks aside who seem to have their head on their shoulders and can act as a peacemaker or can steer the conversation away from an ugly situation. If possible find two people who have opposing political opinions so each can talk to “their own people” if necessary.
    • If you believe this group can’t keep emotion out of the conversation when dishing politics, insist on there being no political talk during your dinner party. It’s better to ban political snarkiness from the evening than allow a few comments to ruin the party for everyone.
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    Inject fun into your dinner party by serving famous politician’s favorite foods or mimicking a White House dinner party. Political discussions can drag down the overall mood of your dinner party, robbing your title of “Hostess with the Mostest.” Don’t let your guests make your party the site of an infamous disagreement or the night that fell flat, set your party up for fun and levity even before guests arrive.
    • Do your research to find various past President’s favorite foods. You could go with a total French menu loved by both Kennedy and Jefferson or more of a “log cabin” type meal relished by the earlier Presidents like Adams or Lincoln. For dessert, you could serve a few fun jellybeans as a nod to Reagan along with cherries jubilee to honor Washington.
    • Recreate an inaugural meal. No matter which side of the aisle you sit, any political junkie will scarf up the recreation of an inaugural meal. Pick and choose from different past President’s first meals--you could even create an inaugural mash-up and include what several Presidents ate.
    • Set your table as if it’s the White House. You could even peruse former First Lady china patterns and settings to see how they threw a dinner party. Select your favorite First Lady to use as your dinner party model.


  • Watch your guest’s alcohol intake--the more they drink they more likely they are to possibly start a political fight at the table.
  • If a certain guest seems to insist on picking a fight with someone with an opposing view, invite that guest into the kitchen to “help you” and then have a quick talk. Hopefully this is a guest who is a friend and will understand your desire to defuse any kind of overly heated discussion, especially if you sense that other guests are becoming uncomfortable.


  • Avoid inviting any friends or family members who are considered to be “loose cannons” and typically cannot control how they express their political opinions.

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Categories: Dinner Parties