Post # 1
Just a quick question: How do you remain friends with someone who has completely different political or idealogical values than you?
I have a friend, “Jen,” who comes from a religious and conservative family. I tend to lean more liberal on a lot of things. We’ve known one another for almost 20 years now, so it isn’t like our view points are a completely mystery to each other.
Usually, I’m pretty good about holding my tongue when she mentions something (like not agreeing with Homosexuality – this has been brought up many times by her and her family), but its getting harder to do so. I think my biggest issue is that a lot of times she just seems to be complaining about how something is going to effect her personally instead of looking at the bigger picture – instead of looking for solutions, she just complains constantly.
There was one topic fairly recently that I commented on extensively after she brought it up. I probably shouldn’t have, but it bothered me that her focus was more on “woe is me, I can’t do this now” rather than thinking about why the decision was made that was made.
I don’t want to continue debating with her like this, so I’m looking for a bit of advice. So, how do you other Bees do it? Any advice? Do I continue biting my tongue everytime she says something that I don’t agree with or that I personally find morally repugnant? Do I start discussing my point of view more openly, possibly risking the friendship (I like to think we’re both mature people, but its possible we aren’t that mature)? How do you usually approach these discussions?
Post # 3
I save my politics for family and the internet. Ask her if the two of you can avoid certain topics from now on.
Post # 4
I’d find it hard to maintain a friendship with someone I found to be for example racist or homophobic. If the differences are small I would just avoid the topic, but if they are major differences I would probably by phasing the friendship out.
Post # 5
@LoggerHead91207: I’m throwing out a few random thoughts, but more posting to see what others have to say, as this is something I struggle with as well–not just with friends, but with extended family members and colleagues.
My approach when I am “captive” has been to work hard to control the conversation and keep it away from incendiary topics and to be non-responsive to obvious attempts to bait me into an argument about known points of disagreement. I am very lucky that this has worked so far and I am also lucky that none of the people who hold me “captive” are prone to hateful comments. They just don’t understand economic theory or the scientific method (hoo…ray?).
Perhaps some degree of bluntness might be appropriate: simply tell your friend that there are some issues where the two of you disagree and that if s/he must have agreement from his/her closest friends on those matters, then the nature of your friendship will have to change.
Also, like the poster above me I would phase out friendships with those who think that some people are less worthy of rights and protections than others!
Post # 6
My family is largely made up of racist Tea Party members. So I feel for you!
I generally make a joking comment then change the subject.
Recently, my Dad said “Do you know what the worst thing to happen to this country since Mexicans is?”
And I replied “Please, you’d be LOST without (name of Mexican restaurant)! How was fishing today?”
Post # 7
In general, I’d just avoid those topics. If she continued to bring it up, I’d tell her I do not wish to discuss hot button issues with her, and leave it at that. Now, with something like homophobia, I’d have a harder time respecting the person.
Post # 8
I pretty much wouldn’t, because I can’t be friends with people I don’t respect. Homophobia is a big deal. In a real way, you are who you’re friends with, and that thought should make you proud.
Post # 9
My best friend is my absolute polar opposite of me. I’ve never drank, smoked, done drugs or anything like that but she’s done a lot. We’ve always been opposites and honestly I think what matters is we respect each other as individuals even if we don’t agree. We love each other, no matter what or how much we disagree or how different our lifestyles are.
Post # 10
Sorry I wasn’t done yet lol. I have more trouble disagreeing with my future in laws lol but like I said I still love them, I still respect their opinions, but that doesn’t mean I have to agree. Sometimes that does mean holding my tongue or picking my battles.
Post # 11
one of my coworkers whom i love dearly is really conservative and i tend to be liberal. we always laugh at how were friends but honestly the times those topics come up are far and few between. just say you dont agree with certain things she believes and she doesnt believe in certain things you do and its probably best to not being those topics up around one another.
Post # 12
@LoggerHead91207: perhaps you need to move on.
Post # 13
@LoggerHead91207: “Do I start discussing my point of view more openly.” Yes. Okay, I actually love to debate/have heated discussions with friends about our respective idealogical values. I think some of the most interesting conversations stem from this.
But you either have to *both* hold your tongues or you’ve got to challenge each other and hopefully learn from each other. It sounds like you have a situation where you just listen to her say stupid things and don’t respond. All this does is ensure your interactions with her are negative and are constantly reaffirmed as negative so eventually you won’t want to be friends with her anyway.
Instead, start opening your mouth, not to defend what you think or to be sanctimonious (I do this too much), but to make her think. If you’re friend is heterosexist, meet her on her level – there are plenty of faith-based arguments *for* marriage equality/gay rights.
I don’t think that all opinions are of equal worth, and if she starts saying hateful stuff, tell her to save it for her close-minded friends and not say it around you.
Post # 14
I generally respectfully state my view once. Often that stops it coming up again repeatedly anyway. Plus, I don’t like wrong/irgnorant views to be unchallenged.
If, after that, the person continues to bring it up in front of me anyway, I figure they’re trying to start an argument and generally bite my tongue. But it’s a long time since it’s come to that.
Post # 15
@LoggerHead91207: it sounds like her issues are less about politics and more about just being a negative person, always making everything about them. Differing political views that can be kept respectful, I am A-OK with. I am not OK with people who are constantly negative, complaining and being emotionally draining, I don’t care what their political affiliation is! I think having friends who are different and share varying views is important, and an earmark of maturity if people are able to discuss things respectfully, when it crosses the line then BYE BYE!
Post # 16
It is fine to disagree but does she respect you, does she respect people who live lifestyles that she doesn’t agree with? She can disagree all she wants in my opinion as long as she has respect for your opinions and other people. If she doesn’t I’d drop her fast. If she does I see no problem continuing the friendship but avoiding certain topics.
You might want to give her a chance to see how she reacts to your opinions whether she considers them or dismisses them. Maybe she doesn’t see the big picture that you do and it would help if someone brought it up to her.