Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Will Our Relationships Survive Politics?

 

When I first began to lament the absence of values in politics many years ago, I was told, in so many words, that’s politics. Get over it. Politics has followed its own set of rules forever, and that was simply the way things were. I should hold my nose and vote for the least bad candidate.

Whether or not that is still true today is something we can discuss. Of more importance to me is the role politics and values play in my relationships. The people on the Left with whom I’m friends are caring people; they aren’t violent or angry. In fact, I love them in part because of their kindness (and for tolerating me!)

But I’ve become uncomfortably aware that their intelligence and kindness may not be enough to maintain our friendships. They have taken positions politically and are resoundingly on the Left. There was a time when I simply said, well, we have so much in common otherwise that we’ll be okay if we simply avoid politics.

I’m not so sure if that’s true anymore.

Since politics and governance seem to be inextricably enmeshed, I’m finding that my friends on the Left have decided that anyone who isn’t on the Left doesn’t belong in politics or governance. Of course, one could say that I feel the same way. I think the difference between us is that the values I hold, not necessarily as a Conservative, but a person who calls herself a conservative, call on me to live my values in a very explicit way. I don’t believe in forcing my values on others, but I also don’t want them to force theirs on me. Due to their values that they expect to manifest in government in a restrictive and despotic way, they are condemning my values and demanding that I compromise them for the “good of others.”

The problems arise when their choices not only limit my choices, but imprison others, too.

Let me further explain my dilemma with my own friends, some of whom I’ve discussed on this site. I will describe my understanding of values by using the Moral Foundations Theory of Jonathan Haidt. I’m going to apply it liberally in order to adapt it to the extreme polarizations that we are experiencing today, so mine is not a pure application. But I think it will be helpful in understanding the strains that are arising in my relationships, and perhaps in yours. Haidt’s model includes Care/Harm; Fairness/Cheating; Loyalty/Betrayal; Authority/Subversion; and Sanctity/Degradation. I will compare the Left and Right through these categories.

  1. Care/Harm: Although the Left supposedly lauds the care of people of color as a priority, they are carrying out their goals by chastising, ridiculing, defaming, and blaming people who are not in those categories, in other words white people, for the current state of the country, especially for what they call systemic racism. To try to ostracize the majority of the people in this country through this argument is unconscionable. Those on the Right believe that we should help our friends and neighbors, but we are not responsible for hurting the entire society, particularly for something we’ve never done. All of my friends on the Left believe this racism exists. If I asked them if I was part of systemic racism, I suspect they would say (apologetically) that I am.
  2. Fairness/Cheating: In order to accomplish their goals, the Left is prepared to redistribute the money of everyone. The “rich” in this country (which still has not been defined) have more than they need and should provide more to those who have less. This could be done through taxes. The fairness comes in regarding the need for all of us to contribute, but not in determining the amount the government should be able to steal from us. From my perspective, fairness is a factor when I point out that we all have the opportunity to rise above our current spiritual and economic state in this country. In fact, if we simply give people money, they lose the opportunity to grow in their own self-confidence and self-reliance. If I were to ask my friends about my particular situation, they would probably state that I should at least contribute to those who have less—whatever that means.
  3. Loyalty/Betrayal: Loyalty can be experienced at many levels: loyalty to the country, the state, the community and our friends and family. Those on the Left that I know would insist they are loyal to the United States, and in the next breath list all the ways we have betrayed our fellow citizens. They would state that our errors far outweigh our achievements. Their loyalty to friends and family would only go as far as the compliance of those groups to the Left’s causes; in the face of disagreement, the Left would probably at a minimum call the Right misguided, at worst, evil and hateful. If I asked my friends how they felt about my loyalty, they would probably see me as a loyal friend; they would probably see my patriotism regarding the country as primitive and distasteful.
  4. Authority/subversion: In recent months, the Left has made their disdain for authority clear. Efforts to defund the police, attack law enforcement and willingness to burn down buildings or justify the actions of those who do are frightening. Rule of law is meaningless when social justice is a priority. Although burning buildings is terrible, from their perspective these acts are understandable given the state of the country. If I asked my friends about my support for law enforcement, they would reject my information about how law enforcement has been unfairly criticized and targeted.
  5. Sanctity/degradation: Sanctity has no place in the secular Left. If anything is sacred, it is their belief in their cause. Their leaders are idolized, their goals are sacred. Of my three friends, only one is religious; the other two believe in “spirit.” I believe that my religious friend focuses on those tenets that are congruent with the Left, and ignores or re-defines those that are in conflict with it. The other two have no concern about “serving G-d,” or deferring to a higher authority, since He doesn’t factor in their lives. We don’t discuss religion, since with the two non-believers, they aren’t much interested.

* * * * *

You may have a few questions about my analysis. First, why don’t I ask my friends how they feel, rather than guess? I already know their Leftist beliefs, because at times we’ve discussed them, enough for me to know where they stand. But if I asked them how they felt about me, they would probably tell me, but it would be awkward. At times, one has said I’m an exception to the typical Rightist. Besides, in one way it doesn’t matter what they think of me. What matters is how I see them as friends.

My major questions are, do I believe I should remain close to people whose values are so different than my own? How do I feel about people who are ill-informed about the facts regarding the current state of our country? Finally, am I prepared over the long-term to avoid discussing issues that are so important to me in order to maintain the semblance of close relationships? I know there are people who are friends with people who have very different values than their own. If I consider ending those friendships, rest assured I will find out what their values are, rather than speculate.

I’m just not sure that I want to maintain those friendships.

Have you lost friendships permanently due to values differences? If not, do you think that might happen in your own life?

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  1. Stina Member

    Weakened social trust has been a problem since Obama. That our politics are as bad as they are may be a consequence of low social trust, not a cause of it.

    • #1
    • October 22, 2020, at 11:02 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  2. Vance Richards Member
    Vance RichardsJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Right now my wife is out for a walk with one of her friends who has Stage 4 cancer. Her friend is also college professor who fits every stereotype you may have about Leftist college professors. Her house has handmade BLM and Pride posters in the windows and she seemed a little disappointed when she found out her daughter liked boys.

    My wife, on the other hand is a very conservative Christian stay-at-home mom who would tell the kids “Uncle Rush” is on when she turned on her favorite radio show. In other words, they hold very different world views. Other than motherhood and cancer (my wife is a survivor) they have very little in common. But as passionate as they both are about their politics, they agree to focus on other things when they are together. There is a lot of shared humanity that goes beyond D or R.

    As for who you should be friends with . . . ? Some people aren’t worth the work even when you have a lot in common. I guess you have to take it on a person to person basis.

    • #2
    • October 22, 2020, at 11:04 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  3. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Lost a friend permanently? No. I think I may have closed off future discussion on the topic of “systemic racism” with the following rant.

    When your family was still plowing up the little rocks and plowing around the big ones back in Italy, mine was marching through Georgia with Uncle Billy. It had to be done, but your explanation of “white privilege” would have made them laugh, especially the ones who were committed abolitionists when Lincoln was still a Whig. The ones who came home went right back to what they were doing before — plowing up the little rocks and plowing around the big ones.

    • #3
    • October 22, 2020, at 11:18 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Stina (View Comment):

    Weakened social trust has been a problem since Obama. That our politics are as bad as they are may be a consequence of low social trust, not a cause of it.

    That is an interesting point, Stina. Could you elaborate? I think the polarization began long before Obama, but it certainly was exacerbated by it. Am I correct in understanding that you are equating low social trust with polarization?

    • #4
    • October 22, 2020, at 11:19 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  5. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Vance Richards (View Comment):
    My wife, on the other hand is a very conservative Christian stay-at-home mom who would tell the kids “Uncle Rush” is on when she turned on her favorite radio show. In other words, they hold very different world views. Other than motherhood and cancer (my wife is a survivor) they have very little in common. But as passionate as they both are about their politics, they agree to focus on other things when they are together. There is a lot of shared humanity that goes beyond D or R.

    That’s good to hear, @vancerichards. I do wonder if cancer (which can put life in perspective) has a role in their relationship. I’m so glad your wife is there for her. 

    • #5
    • October 22, 2020, at 11:21 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  6. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Percival (View Comment):

    Lost a friend permanently? No. I think I may have closed off future discussion on the topic of “systemic racism” with the following rant.

    When your family was still plowing up the little rocks and plowing around the big ones back in Italy, mine was marching through Georgia with Uncle Billy. It had to be done, but your explanation of “white privilege” would have made them laugh, especially the ones who were committed abolitionists when Lincoln was still a Whig. The ones who came home went right back to what they were doing before — plowing up the little rocks and plowing around the big ones.

    Well done, @percival. Those kinds of stories put things in perspective, don’t they?

    • #6
    • October 22, 2020, at 11:22 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  7. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. StephensJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    If someone walks away from friendship over politics they are not a friend in the first place. 

    Johnston was a pallbearer for Sherman. 

     

    • #7
    • October 22, 2020, at 11:27 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  8. Stina Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):

    Weakened social trust has been a problem since Obama. That our politics are as bad as they are may be a consequence of low social trust, not a cause of it.

    That is an interesting point, Stina. Could you elaborate? I think the polarization began long before Obama, but it certainly was exacerbated by it. Am I correct in understanding that you are equating low social trust with polarization?

    No. I dont equate social trust with polarization.

    Polarization is from social media and from news consumption. Social media may have created rifts in social trust, but social trust is built into communities and reinforced by honest reporting, proper enforcement of laws, and grace.

    Polarization is exacerbated by low social trust.

    Micro-aggressions, systemic racism, reparations, low enforcement of rule breaking because disparate impact, painting every mass shooting as one group – all these reinforce that the people in your community can’t be trusted.

    Those things were pushed heavily during Obama’s administration and it had a huge effect on the local communities already somewhat weakened by the rise of social media (only 4 years prior).

    Local communities make sure that you hear different view points than you necessarily get from the news sources you consume. They can break you out of your bubble if you are surrounded by diverse views. So having high trust diminishes polarization, but I don’t consider them the same.

    Cities and urban environs are typically low trust and they are not polarized.

    • #8
    • October 22, 2020, at 11:29 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  9. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Bryan G. Stephens, Trump Aveng… (View Comment):

    If someone walks away from friendship over politics they are not a friend in the first place.

    Johnston was a pallbearer for Sherman.

     

    Well, that says more about me than them, at that rate. But what about the differences in values and the role those play? That the rule of law doesn’t matter? That committing violence and arson is okay? That burning down people’s businesses is sad, but, oh well.

    Clearly I need to have a conversation with them. Or maybe not.

    • #9
    • October 22, 2020, at 11:29 AM PDT
    • Like
  10. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. StephensJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens, Trump Aveng… (View Comment):

    If someone walks away from friendship over politics they are not a friend in the first place.

    Johnston was a pallbearer for Sherman.

     

    Well, that says more about me than them, at that rate. But what about the differences in values and the role those play? That the rule of law doesn’t matter? That committing violence and arson is okay? That burning down people’s businesses is sad, but, oh well.

    Clearly I need to have a conversation with them. Or maybe not.

    If they think arson is OK, and murder is OK, I’d not bother with them.

    But they don’t really. They have that in a box far away. They have sealed it off with falsehoods and lies. 

     

    • #10
    • October 22, 2020, at 11:32 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  11. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Stina (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):

    Weakened social trust has been a problem since Obama. That our politics are as bad as they are may be a consequence of low social trust, not a cause of it.

    That is an interesting point, Stina. Could you elaborate? I think the polarization began long before Obama, but it certainly was exacerbated by it. Am I correct in understanding that you are equating low social trust with polarization?

    No. I dont equate social trust with polarization.

    Polarization is from social media and from news consumption. Social media may have created rifts in social trust, but social trust is built into communities and reinforced by honest reporting, proper enforcement of laws, and grace.

    Polarization is exacerbated by low social trust.

    Micro-aggressions, systemic racism, reparations, low enforcement of rule breaking because disparate impact, painting every mass shooting as one group – all these reinforce that the people in your community can’t be trusted.

    Those things were pushed heavily during Obama’s administration and it had a huge effect on the local communities already somewhat weakened by the rise of social media (only 4 years prior).

    Local communities make sure that you hear different view points than you necessarily get from the news sources you consume. They can break you out of your bubble if you are surrounded by diverse views. So having high trust diminishes polarization, but I don’t consider them the same.

    Cities and urban environs are typically low trust and they are not polarized.

    Thank you, Stina. That makes sense.

    • #11
    • October 22, 2020, at 11:32 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  12. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Bryan G. Stephens, Trump Aveng… (View Comment):

    If they think arson is OK, and murder is OK, I’d not bother with them.

    But they don’t really. They have that in a box far away. They have sealed it off with falsehoods and lies. 

     

    You might be right,@bryangstephens. One of the things I believe strongly for myself is that I try to live close to my values and act accordingly. That means there should be congruence among my values and my actions, even my words. When I see that incongruence in others, at the very least I become uncomfortable. When I have a relationship with a person like that, I have to ask myself questions.

    Some values are also more important than others. I can’t live out every single value, but I try to be clear on the most important, and act accordingly.

    • #12
    • October 22, 2020, at 11:41 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  13. Old Bathos Moderator

    I have relatives who are woke. They get enraged when I point out that the facts do not support the narrative for Trayvon, Mike Brown, or George Floyd. They are religious about mask-wearing and only believe bad news. They live in a world of caricature which makes it hard for them to respond rationally to events. Trump is a racist devil whose every utterance is a lie. They abandon all nuances. They admit to being less than thrilled with Biden but when one is battling pure evil… 

    Outside of politics, they are quite normal folk. There is enough common ground within family life that these things are not fatal.

    I recall a teacher of a religion class in a Catholic school who was actually quite brilliant and accomplished as I learned in later years but only spoke in direct simple terms in his class. What I remember most is that no matter how snotty, stupid or openly heretical was a question posed to him, he was not only unflappable but either treated it as perfectly legitimate concern or honestly rephrased it so that it was. And then he provided a logical, complete answer. He had a presence and natural authority (a big fellow) but always executed the class as an invitation, not a mandate. You were always entitled to your beliefs but you did have to think them through. He was playing the long game with his students and was remarkably successful at it because of his personal example and the experience of an invitation rather than an argument or a moral imperative. 

    I think it is important for conservatives to be cheerful and comfortable in their beliefs such that questions and stupid propositions can be handled gently. Respond with questions more often than quotes from Russell Kirk or Michael Oakeshott. Liberals are now mostly bubble people who are not required to think about their positions. They need to know that unlike them, you do not hate them for their beliefs. They need to understand why you doubt their certainties. Nobody is ever converted by statements but only by lingering questions.

    • #13
    • October 22, 2020, at 11:44 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  14. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. StephensJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    I have relatives who are woke. They get enraged when I point out that the facts do not support the narrative for Trayvon, Mike Brown, or George Floyd. They are religious about mask-wearing and only believe bad news. They live in a world of caricature which makes it hard for them to respond rationally to events. Trump is a racist devil whose every utterance is a lie. They abandon all nuances. They admit to being less than thrilled with Biden but when one is battling pure evil…

    Outside of politics, they are quite normal folk. There is enough common ground within family life that these things are not fatal.

    I recall a teacher of a religion class in a Catholic school who was actually quite brilliant and accomplished as I learned in later years but only spoke in direct simple terms in his class. What I remember most is that no matter how snotty, stupid or openly heretical was a question posed to him, he was not only unflappable but either treated it as perfectly legitimate concern or honestly rephrased it so that it was. And then he provided a logical, complete answer. He had a presence and natural authority (a big fellow) but always executed the class as an invitation, not a mandate. You were always entitled to your beliefs but you did have to think them through. He was playing the long game with his students and was remarkably successful at it because of his personal example and the experience of an invitation rather than an argument or a moral imperative.

    I think it is important for conservatives to be cheerful and comfortable in their beliefs such that questions and stupid propositions can be handled gently. Respond with questions more often than quotes from Russell Kirk or Michael Oakeshott. Liberals are now mostly bubble people who are not required to think about their positions. They need to know that unlike them, you do not hate them for their beliefs. They need to understand why you doubt their certainties. Nobody is ever converted by statements but only by lingering questions.

    Yes. Hard to do when faced with stupidity.

    The problem is, when you present them with information they don’t like they attack the messenger. 

    Asking questions is all that works. They usually give up and go away. Columbo is a great tactic. 

    • #14
    • October 22, 2020, at 11:48 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  15. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    I think it is important for conservatives to be cheerful and comfortable in their beliefs such that questions and stupid propositions can be handled gently. Respond with questions more often than quotes from Russell Kirk or Michael Oakeshott. Liberals are now mostly bubble people who are not required to think about their positions. They need to know that unlike them, you do not hate them for their beliefs. They need to understand why you doubt their certainties. Nobody is ever converted by statements but only by lingering questions.

    First, @oldbathos, I put family in a different category. We can choose our friends, but not our families. 

    I love what you said about the teacher of religion. When I was training people, I would occasionally get challenging questions; sometimes I rose to the occasion, and I felt so blessed. At other times, I was an idiot. But the idea of responding with grace (and I would add curiosity) is something I still aspire to.

    Regarding my own friends, I have a hard time. It becomes clear very early in a discussion that they are uninformed. It really is difficult for me to hear them speak with authority when they don’t know what they are talking about. It would be hard to say, you are uninformed; and they think my thoughts on the MSM are conspiratorial. I guess I’m left frustrated at their lack of interest in making sure they know the facts. No, I don’t hate them for their beliefs. But I am deeply disappointed at how easily they give in to propaganda, and how unwilling they are to seek the truth. Suggestions?

    • #15
    • October 22, 2020, at 11:52 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  16. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Bryan G. Stephens, Trump Aveng… (View Comment):
    The problem is, when you present them with information they don’t like they attack the messenger. 

    Fortunately my own friends rarely attack me; they just politely tell me I’m wrong. Then we change the subject.

    • #16
    • October 22, 2020, at 11:54 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  17. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. StephensJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens, Trump Aveng… (View Comment):
    The problem is, when you present them with information they don’t like they attack the messenger.

    Fortunately my own friends rarely attack me; they just politely tell me I’m wrong. Then we change the subject.

    See, the. I am like, “prove it. Change my mind if I am wrong. Marshal your facts, arm your mind, prepare for combat.” My main batteries are now trained upon your fleet. You have called for this battle and I gladly engage. Ha e at you, Sir!”

    • #17
    • October 22, 2020, at 11:57 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  18. Stina Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens, Trump Aveng… (View Comment):
    The problem is, when you present them with information they don’t like they attack the messenger.

    Fortunately my own friends rarely attack me; they just politely tell me I’m wrong. Then we change the subject.

    It appears the people around me just ghost me if I say something they think is wrong.

    It’s very frustrating and lonely.

    • #18
    • October 22, 2020, at 12:14 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  19. MarciN Member

    I have always told my kids that friendships form around activities usually. There is no such thing as an all-purpose friend. :-) 

    I have one kind of conversation with my neighbors, another with the people I work with, another with family, and so on. 

    That said, if someone were belligerent toward me in terms of politics, I’d avoid that person as much as I could, even conservatives. 

    There are always disagreements among friends and foes. :-) When I served on various volunteer committees, even though we had a shared purpose, we spent a lot of time arguing. :-) I learned to never bring out the bylaws for review. :-) 

    • #19
    • October 22, 2020, at 12:17 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  20. EODmom Coolidge

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    Right now my wife is out for a walk with one of her friends who has Stage 4 cancer. Her friend is also college professor who fits every stereotype you may have about Leftist college professors. Her house has handmade BLM and Pride posters in the windows and she seemed a little disappointed when she found out her daughter liked boys.

    My wife, on the other hand is a very conservative Christian stay-at-home mom who would tell the kids “Uncle Rush” is on when she turned on her favorite radio show. In other words, they hold very different world views. Other than motherhood and cancer (my wife is a survivor) they have very little in common. But as passionate as they both are about their politics, they agree to focus on other things when they are together. There is a lot of shared humanity that goes beyond D or R.

    As for who you should be friends with . . . ? Some people aren’t worth the work even when you have a lot in common. I guess you have to take it on a person to person basis.

    Many, many, many are and will be unable to focus on what they have have in common with acquaintances, neighbors, friends, co-workers and others. I think there’s plenty of evidence of that, which goes to your last point: person to person relationships and what each of us brings to them will determine which survive. If an acquaintance/friend is unable or unwilling to commit to what we value in having the relationship, then they aren’t a friend. Many friendships are not deep enough now to survive that. One “friend”cannot do all the work. Several generations have lost the habits and skills of deepening and maintaining relationships and I think it’s a long time before it returns. Broken trust and betrayal of friendships are grievous wounds. 

    • #20
    • October 22, 2020, at 12:20 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  21. Old Bathos Moderator

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    I think it is important for conservatives to be cheerful and comfortable in their beliefs such that questions and stupid propositions can be handled gently. Respond with questions more often than quotes from Russell Kirk or Michael Oakeshott. Liberals are now mostly bubble people who are not required to think about their positions. They need to know that unlike them, you do not hate them for their beliefs. They need to understand why you doubt their certainties. Nobody is ever converted by statements but only by lingering questions.

    First, @oldbathos, I put family in a different category. We can choose our friends, but not our families.

    I love what you said about the teacher of religion. When I was training people, I would occasionally get challenging questions; sometimes I rose to the occasion, and I felt so blessed. At other times, I was an idiot. But the idea of responding with grace (and I would add curiosity) is something I still aspire to.

    Regarding my own friends, I have a hard time. It becomes clear very early in a discussion that they are uninformed. It really is difficult for me to hear them speak with authority when they don’t know what they are talking about. It would be hard to say, you are uninformed; and they think my thoughts on the MSM are conspiratorial. I guess I’m left frustrated at their lack of interest in making sure they know the facts. No, I don’t hate them for their beliefs. But I am deeply disappointed at how easily they give in to propaganda, and how unwilling they are to seek the truth. Suggestions?

    Sometimes with a particularly stubborn daughter I always open the conversation as if I do not have a position on the issue and conduct the rest of the exchange only in the form of questions. She hates it but invariably takes the bait.

    If police shootings have declined for 50 years, and black men get shot in far lower proportion that their involvement in violent crimes, then how and where do we find something we can call systemic racism? How do we know if it is just one bad cop or a good cop having a stressed out day or a bad local force or a national problem? Don’t we have to look at the numbers? And what are those numbers?

    But do we have to adjust our policies if what most people call The Science of climate change turns out to be off? The models have overpredicted warming for more than a decade so don’t we all have to re-examine our assumptions? What is your personal estimation of equilibrium climate sensitivity because it seems to be an open question and it is key to the whole issue, don’t you think?

    Daddy went to law school and never asks a question for which he does not already know the answer but at all times Daddy makes it clear that he is open to persuasion but only by substantive answers.

    • #21
    • October 22, 2020, at 12:22 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  22. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Stina (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens, Trump Aveng… (View Comment):
    The problem is, when you present them with information they don’t like they attack the messenger.

    Fortunately my own friends rarely attack me; they just politely tell me I’m wrong. Then we change the subject.

    It appears the people around me just ghost me if I say something they think is wrong.

    It’s very frustrating and lonely.

    I’m so sorry, Stina. I wonder if they are afraid of a possible confrontation? Some people will do anything to avoid one.

    • #22
    • October 22, 2020, at 1:12 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  23. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    MarciN (View Comment):

    I have always told my kids that friendships form around activities usually. There is no such thing as an all-purpose friend. :-)

    I have one kind of conversation with my neighbors, another with the people I work with, another with family, and so on.

    That said, if someone were belligerent toward me in terms of politics, I’d avoid that person as much as I could, even conservatives.

    There are always disagreements among friends and foes. :-) When I served on various volunteer committees, even though we had a shared purpose, we spent a lot of time arguing. :-) I learned to never bring out the bylaws for review. :-)

    Thanks for your perspective, @marcin. You and others are giving me a lot to chew on!

    • #23
    • October 22, 2020, at 1:13 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  24. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    EODmom (View Comment):
    If an acquaintance/friend is unable or unwilling to commit to what we value in having the relationship, then they aren’t a friend. Many friendships are not deep enough now to survive that. One “friend”cannot do all the work. Several generations have lost the habits and skills of deepening and maintaining relationships and I think it’s a long time before it returns. Broken trust and betrayal of friendships are grievous wounds. 

    Thanks, @eodmom. I have to look more closely at the friendships themselves, and if I’m the one who is the problem. 

    • #24
    • October 22, 2020, at 1:15 PM PDT
    • Like
  25. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    Sometimes with a particularly stubborn daughter I always open the conversation as if I do not have a position on the issue and conduct the rest of the exchange only in the form of questions. She hates it but invariably takes the bait.

    Awesome strategy, @oldbathos. Unfortunately I don’t have your law school training. I have the uneasy feeling that my questions will take us nowhere, but I won’t know until I try. BTW, “nowhere” is a response that indicates they don’t know or don’t care to engage or one favorite, “I’m sure we could figure out a way . . . ” This is a great suggestion.

    • #25
    • October 22, 2020, at 1:17 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  26. JustmeinAZ Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    I guess I’m left frustrated at their lack of interest in making sure they know the facts. No, I don’t hate them for their beliefs.

    But they know the “facts” and either don’t believe them or don’t care. You’re a better woman than I am. Dennis Prager used to say (and probably still does) that they think we are evil and we just think they are wrong. I used to agree but no longer. Now I also think they are evil. Either that or stupid. Neither of which I can tolerate. 

    I have a number of acquaintances – all conservative – and just one very good friend. I knew she had voted for Trump last time but just recently found out that she registered R for the first time in her life. Whew! Thank goodness! I have two enthusiastic Trump brothers and two sisters who won’t even leave Calif until there is a vaccine. Guess who I don’t care if I ever see again.

    • #26
    • October 22, 2020, at 1:36 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  27. Kephalithos Member

    I’ve developed a few rules of thumb regarding politics and relationships. I’m not sure if they’re wise, but I try to follow them:

    1) Cross-political friendships are possible if both sides agree to avoid the subject of politics. The relationship has to be symmetrical. If one side insists on ranting and raving, then the friendship has become toxic, and it’s time to let it die.

    2) Reserve the closest relationships (marriage, intellectual friendships, etc.) for people “in the know.” Try to get along with everyone (without compromising your beliefs), but allow into your inner circle only those you can trust.

    3) Never befriend someone who accepts the maxim, “The personal is political.”

    • #27
    • October 22, 2020, at 1:45 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  28. Rodin Member

    I had a similar problem but on a different dimension: My family are very religious and I am an agnostic. Because they are family you can’t simply not interact, but it does modify your behaviors and speech. It also robs one of a certain depth to the relationship which is regrettable.

    And I suspect that is what concerns you about your friendships: how the “no go zones” impact the depth to which that friendship exists.

    There is no good answer. There is only the question of what those relationships mean to you and whether sufficient good can be experienced within a lessened relationship.

    • #28
    • October 22, 2020, at 1:54 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  29. OldPhil Coolidge

    I have a cousin who I haven’t seen in person for some years, but he’s gone completely left-wing loon. This is a guy who was a helicopter pilot in Vietnam, a commercial airline pilot, and a quite wealthy bank president. He accused me on FB of being a racist. Suffice it to say, I won’t be talking to him in any format anytime in the foreseeable future.

    I have a lot of friends who lean left, and we interact all the time, usually with some humorous ribbing on both sides. It’s not hard to deal with people with wildly different opinions as long as you accept their right to do so and don’t accuse them of being racists.

    • #29
    • October 22, 2020, at 2:25 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  30. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Rodin (View Comment):

    I had a similar problem but on a different dimension: My family are very religious and I am an agnostic. Because they are family you can’t simply not interact, but it does modify your behaviors and speech. It also robs one of a certain depth to the relationship which is regrettable.

    And I suspect that is what concerns you about your friendships: how the “no go zones” impact the depth to which that friendship exists.

    There is no good answer. There is only the question of what those relationships mean to you and whether sufficient good can be experienced within a lessened relationship.

    You know me well. The relationships are already suffering from the “lack of depth.”

    • #30
    • October 22, 2020, at 3:08 PM PDT
    • 4 likes