Newswise — As the political posturing amps up in advance of the midterm elections, you know you can always turn off the TV or the radio when you don’t agree with the viewpoint on Obamacare, gun control or policy in the Middle East.

But how do you turn off your friend – or your family member – without hurting feelings?

It starts with telling them how you feel, no matter how uncomfortable it gets, says Sam Gladding, chair of the department of counseling at Wake Forest University. It’s probably the only way to keep the friendship.

“I think it’s a disservice not to let someone know that you really don’t want to talk politics with them because you disagree with their views,” he said. “That sets boundaries. Now, there’s always mutiny on the boundaries and it probably won’t end all discussion, but I think letting someone know what is appropriate is a real act of caring.”

He’s had the talk with some of his friends – and he knows he’ll probably need to have it again as the elections approach. To make it a little easier, he tries to inject some humor into it.

“I try to address it head-on,” he said. “Something like, ‘Hey, Jim, I like you but we disagree completely on our politics. I want to keep on liking you, so let’s talk about things that don’t have a political agenda.”

You an even make a game of it: Agree on a cue you can use, such as a crossing your arms or saying “beep, game over,” when a political conversation starts to get uncomfortable.

No matter the situation, you shouldn’t listen to political rants that make you uncomfortable or even angry.

“I think people who ride the extreme view have little social acuity and think they’re going to bowl you over with your views and get you to agree,” Gladding said. “But you have a mind that thinks, too.”

It’s all about basic interpersonal skills and respectful communication.

And if that doesn’t work? Try avoidance, Gladding said. Stop looking the person in the eye, put some distance between the two of you, and then make excuses to move on when they go on a rant.

“With some people, they’re never going to get it,” he said. “You just have to try to talk to them about other things. Let them have their own parade, but don’t be a part of it. Walk away.”