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This is a followup question to my most recent question of disclosing a sensitive hobby. This is occurring in the United States in a blue, liberal leaning state.

During a recent team building exercise with another team in our cyber-security organization, each person was asked for hobbies. One that I shared was practical shooting within IPSC that I am active in.

Obviously, I am a firearm owner (pistol, shotgun) and use them mainly for recreational sports. Firearm policy and views of 2A are politically and culturally sensitive in the United States with strong opinions on the political spectrum.

As I feared when I shared my hobby, colleagues started asking questions, some positive, and others very critical. Opinions have included saying the sport is unreasonably dangerous, unworthy etc. Of the folks who made negative comments, they also shared negative views of 2A, such as need for right to be controlled.

I support 2A (and all other political rights in the USA), but also reasonable firearm policies such as UBC and limited red flag laws. The firearms I own are both legal under Heller framework.

Ordinarily, I would tell my colleagues directly of any commentary that I feel are outside of work norms / unrelated to work, but given the politically charged topic, don't want to strain work relationships, or make others uncomfortable.

How can I tactfully tell my colleagues outside my team but in our department, that politics is something I don't want to talk about at work?

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  • Your second bullet-point is asking the same thing as the post you asked before. I'm editing it out, and editing other things with the hopes of improving the question
    – DarkCygnus
    Commented Jan 18, 2022 at 22:37
  • Why should you bend down to allign with their political ideology? If you have this as a hobby and it is legal, stand up for it and dont let other people control you. If they cannot accept you for who you are, its they who are not inclusive and need to change - not you.
    – Mr Zach
    Commented Jan 20, 2022 at 7:43
  • @Mr. Zach, both firearms are 100% legal under US federal law and Heller. The same is true for state law although there are restrictions on weapon type. Practical shooting is a fun sport hobby and fully sanctioned via its governing body of IPSC
    – Anthony
    Commented Jan 20, 2022 at 13:40

5 Answers 5

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How can I tactfully tell my colleagues outside my team but in our department, that politics is something I don't want to talk about at work?

When such a discussion starts, try something like: "Sorry, I don't want to discuss politics at work."

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How can I tactfully tell my colleagues outside my team but in our department, that politics is something I don't want to talk about at work?

Eventually, this whole hobby situation will subside. Right now you are still on the "fallout" and subsequent talk that came after that disclosure.

This means that soon any reasonable coworker or colleague will stop engaging on these topics with you.

However, if you are approached again and wish not to talk about matters like these (which, I do recommend you avoid at all in a Professional environment), then politely tell them that you have work to do and need to get back to it.

If they insist then increase your assertiveness by a bit and directly tell them that you would rather talk about other matters instead of politics and firearms.

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Talk to them like an adult

If someone says something to you that you feel is rude or demeaning, you tell them you feel attacked or demeaned by the statement. Frankly, this is no different than if they told you your hair style was ugly.

When it gets to politics, you don't have to engage at all, and I would recommend that you don't. You don't have to respond to a comment saying "I think all guns should be illegal!" I think a good respons to such a statement is "Okay."

I have received negative comments (maybe not political, and still rarely) after telling someone I ride a motorcycle. My preferred retort was to say "that's what's great about being an adult - everyone gets to make their own choices."

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When such a discussion starts, try something like:

I am not that type of guy; please stay in limits.

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Are they insinuating that you will bring in your weapons and do a shooting?

The negative ones that are slandering your character must be reported to HR immediately.

This is a very serious rumor that they're spreading that will severely impact your career and life.

You have to nip this behavior in the buds before it sprouts and gets out of control. If you coworkers are the types that I believe they are then you already have a huge target on your back and it is not above them to create false allegations against you to get you fired or worse yet arrested or shot by police.

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    I'm fairly sure they are not insinuating they will bring in weapons and shoot people Commented Jan 20, 2022 at 12:05
  • @Jack, no. Criticism is political aimed at 2A right and the sport. I consider criticism unreasonable and I already said I support SOME controls on gun ownership such as UBC
    – Anthony
    Commented Jan 20, 2022 at 13:44

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