Create a Politics Text Thread to Get You Through the Next 4 Years

Man looks at his phone while sitting at his desk.
Photo: 10'000 Hours/Getty Images

I’ve been texting with three friends about politics since the 2020 presidential election season began back in, what was it? 1999? 2007? And I’m not sure a day has gone by without us texting about poll numbers or election anxiety.

A politics thread allows you a certain level of vulnerability and candor that Facebook doesn’t (or shouldn’t at least), yet it’s more useful and uplifting than, like, saying to your dog, “I’m cautiously optimistic about indies in Sumter County!”

It’s been the single most important source of information for me about how the election is going and about how my friends are doing.

Here’s how to start one:

Text your three or four most politically engaged friends

They don’t all have to be voting the same way (obviously they will be voting the same way), but they do need to hate misinformation, so that you can at least be on the same basic page, reality-wise. I’d say the max number is 5. (It helps if one of them is a polling nerd.) The goal of this is engagement. Too many people and it just gets annoying.

For the first text, offer up some red meat (or blue meat, as it were)

Something like: “How we feeling about PA?” Or: “We hate the electoral college, right?” Or: “Who’s quicker on the draw with the giant U.S. electoral map touchscreen: CNN’s John King or CNN’s John King”?

Be cool

Let people get things off their chest. Let them have this forum. Make it a safe space. If a few days go by and one of the texters hasn’t been participating, check in with them. Could be election anxiety.

Be honest

Unload. Let your friends know how you’re feeling. Let them come back at you with some interesting polling out of Ohio or a particularly apt “GTFO” gif or just an “I hear you.” It’s an investment in your political future: important support that will help you get through the next one of these cycles — election night especially.

Author, Works Well With Others: Crucial Skills in Business No One Ever Teaches You // writing about creativity, work, and human behavior, in a useful way

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