Baltimore Sun

Po­lit­i­cal views ruin a long friend­ship

- By Amy Dick­in­son askamy@amy­dick­in­ Twit­ter @ask­ingamy Copy­right 2020 by Amy Dick­in­son Dis­trib­uted by Tri­bune Content Agency Discrimination · Ageism · Breaking Up · Violence Prevention · Social Interaction · Human Rights · Ableism · Journaling · Relationships · Sex · Marriage · Family · Bloggers · Society · Personal Safety · Time Management · Lifehacks · Relationships & Sex · Internet Celebrities · Celebrities · Facebook

Dear Amy: A friend of 35 years recently “broke up” with me via email. It was due to pol­i­tics, I con­clude, al­though we have never dis­cussed pol­i­tics.

How­ever, I fre­quently post my con­vic­tions on Face­book. I aim to be civil and to back up my opin­ions with fac­tual links.

My friend and I have never had a di­a­logue on FB about pol­i­tics or can­di­dates. Still, out of the blue, she sent me an email and said, “I don’t like what you put on Face­book, and I can’t be friends with you any­more. Have a nice life.” That was it. Af­ter 35 years.

I could un­der­stand that ac­tion if I had pressed my case over lunch or sent links in emails. I never did. I have a cou­ple of rel­a­tives/friends who post on FB ex­tolling their sup­port for the can­di­date I find ob­jec­tion­able, and my choice is just to not en­gage.

My hus­band says, “You’ve been treated un­fairly and poorly, so con­sider it done and move on.” Still, there’s a deep hurt over this. Your sug­ges­tions?

— Hurt

Dear Hurt: You seem to be­lieve that oth­ers should use Face­book, and re­spond to post­ings, the way you do. But when you post opin­ions on Face­book, you are (ba­si­cally) shout­ing into a mega­phone in the town square. Some peo­ple may choose to walk on by, but oth­ers will lis­ten, pay at­ten­tion and may ob­ject to your po­si­tions.

You seem to be­lieve that your friend should only ob­ject to your po­lit­i­cal opin­ions if you share them per­son­ally. That is ex­tremely naive, and some­what disin­gen­u­ous. Be­cause you two have never dis­cussed pol­i­tics, it’s pos­si­ble that she sim­ply did not know where you stood — un­til now.

I agree that it is un­for­tu­nate that this friend of many decades has slammed the door on your re­la­tion­ship. Her be­hav­ior re­veals her own lim­i­ta­tions and ex­treme sen­si­tiv­i­ties.

I would re­spond to her email, say­ing, “I am very shocked about your choice to end our friend­ship. If I have posted some­thing that you found per­son­ally of­fen­sive, I am truly sorry. I be­lieve our long friend­ship is worth at least a con­ver­sa­tion, but you don’t seem open to that. I wish you were.”

Dear Amy: I’m so up­set. My youngest daugh­ter is preg­nant with her sec­ond child. My old­est daugh­ter has planned a baby shower for next month.

I am 63 years old, and my spouse is 74.

I am so scared to at­tend this shower, but I will feel guilty if I don’t.

There have been 30 guests in­vited, and it will be held in­doors.

What should I do?

— Mom and Gram

Dear Mom: You would ex­pect your daugh­ters to take good care of them­selves, cor­rect? Well, you have to take care of your­self, too.

If you or your spouse got se­ri­ously ill, it would quite lit­er­ally blow a hole through the cen­ter of your en­tire fam­ily.

No­body who loves you should ever at­tempt to make you feel guilty for tak­ing care of your­self.

It is a given that you wish you could at­tend this event safely. Yes, you will feel sad to miss it. But if you are feel­ing guilty with no prompt­ing, that’s on you

My take on this is that if any­one should feel guilty, it might be the peo­ple who are plan­ning this event. If they are di­min­ish­ing your very ra­tio­nal con­cerns or pres­sur­ing you to over­ride your con­cerns in or­der to at­tend this shower, then they are be­ing selfish.

More likely, they have in­vited you be­cause they love you and don’t want you to feel left out, but they don’t want you to over­ride your own con­cerns and are just wait­ing for you to re­gret­fully de­cline.

Dear Amy: Thanks for the ad­vice you pro­vided to “Try­ing to Do the Right Thing,” the cou­ple who planned to fos­ter chil­dren of color in their white fam­ily.

I am a per­son of color. I have faced ob­vi­ous and sub­tle racist comments and ac­tions from oth­ers. Racism and racists will al­ways be with us.

Chil­dren will learn and grow. The par­ents should prepare the chil­dren that such peo­ple ex­ist and help them to de­velop skills to re­act and re­spond ap­pro­pri­ately.

See­ing the ex­tended fam­ily grow­ing mul­tira­cially may change a per­son’s racial per­spec­tives.

— Been There

Dear Been There: Ab­so­lutely. Thank you.

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