Photo by Tim Gouw

Hey Leah! Some of the guys I work with are always talking politics, and we don’t see eye-to-eye. I don’t mind a difference of opinion, but to be honest, it is driving me nuts! Any thoughts?

—Andy, Reston, Virginia

Oh boy, Andy. I think this is something we can all relate to right now. It’s essential to be able to have a civil discourse with people who think differently than you. It’s what sets us apart from the dolphins. However, at the end of the day, you have to realize it is improbable that you’ll ever change someone’s mind. As a liberal, opinionated New Yorker who survived a relationship with a Florida republican, I’m often tempted to argue when someone says things I disagree with. But in these moments, it’s best to step back and, for the sake of your own mental health, disengage. Little things that bother us are powerless without a reaction. By choosing not to react, you’re denying your coworkers the satisfaction of getting a rise out of you while saving yourself unnecessary stress. Try changing the subject to something more casual. “How ‘bout that local sports team?” “Hey, look, Linda from H.R. made cupcakes!” You know, Andy…keep it light.

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Leah Pupkin has been a craft cocktail bartender and consultant for the past ten years. She has worked in countless bars and curated cocktail programs all over New York and Australia. She now resides in Los Angeles, where she is currently the bar manager at Stone Street Coffee Co. & Bathtub Gin. Leah produces sponsored content for various liquor brands and runs a blog featuring movie reviews accompanied by craft cocktail pairings when not behind the bar. You can find the blog at and follow all her work on Instagram @thebardirector.