Q. Dear Pat:
I work with people whom I consider to be good friends. However, several of them are on the opposite end of the political spectrum from me. They know where I stand on the issues, but at lunch and on breaks, they invariably start talking politics and say things that insult and offend me. I don’t like conflict and I don’t want to get into a big debate, so I just smile and try to change the subject as quickly as possible. But it really bothers me that they could be so insensitive to my feelings. On top of that, they’re ruining my breaks by making them so stressful. It’s a free country and we all have the right to our opinions, but how can I get them to stop bringing up controversial issues at work?