Toronto Star

Acquaintan­ce’s political emails growing tiresome

- Ellie Ellie Tesher is an advice columnist for the Star and based in Toronto. Send your relationsh­ip questions via email: ellie@thestar.ca.

Q: I know the husband of a work colleague who’s also my friend. (As her partner, he’s a lovely, caring man). My colleague and I have always gotten along really well, and respect each other.

We also get together with other work colleagues as frequently as possible. I know that if I needed help, she’d provide it if possible.

The couple share an email address. The wife has never expressed any political views, although her husband does.

He and I are polar opposites in politics. Lately, I’ve been receiving many political emails (largely unsubstant­iated). I know that he’s the one sending them. However, I don’t know what her political beliefs are as she never voices them, and neither do I voice mine.

It’s getting really annoying receiving these emails, and I simply delete them. He has a right to his beliefs; I have a right to mine. I don’t think any less of him for this.

Isn’t it a “golden rule” that you don’t discuss politics or religion unless both parties agree to do so? Should I keep deleting them or should I say something?

It’s starting to get tiresome.

Divided by Politics

A: Two goals: Try to maintain the colleague friendship. End the annoying and intrusive emails.

A simple, polite request: “To whom It May Concern: Would the sender of this informatio­n please desist? It’s not in line with my own political beliefs. I respect your right to yours but have no interest in changing mine or discussing the matter.”

That leaves the possibilit­y that the sender won’t be certain that you know it’s your colleague’s husband.

If he keeps sending, just keep deleting. Otherwise, the friendship is bound to be affected.

FEEDBACK: Regarding the letter-writer who sought counsellin­g, then did the opposite of the advice (Aug. 20):

Reader: I’m writing to point out something that I’m sure many readers will also note: The counsellor actually did help the client although not in the expected manner.

After seeing the therapist and receiving a disappoint­ing response, the client took charge of her life and made a decision that she was sure about.

Isn’t that what therapy is for?

Ellie: Yes, absolutely! Recognizin­g one’s own strengths is one of the main goals of therapy for a client to achieve.

But therapists have the task of deciding which approach may work best for each client through discussion and learning the client’s childhood influences and adult experience­s.

In this case, the therapist pushed the right button by recognizin­g the client’s well-developed strengths.

So, she suggested the very advice this client would be sure to reject, choosing instead recognitio­n of her strong selfimage and the benefit of family, work, and friendship supports.

FEEDBACK Regarding the guest who was uncomforta­ble and annoyed after hugging an unvaccinat­ed person (Aug. 21):

Reader: Although I feel that hosts should first think through whether they will or won’t invite unvaccinat­ed people to their homes, guests need to take responsibi­lity for their own behaviour.

If I don’t know someone well enough to already know their vaccine status, I would not hug them without asking their status — or more likely limit my hugs to when this crazy time of enduring a pandemic is behind us.

Reader: The letter-writer chose to attend a social gathering unmasked. If being safe was important, he should’ve worn a mask. To blame somebody else instead of taking responsibi­lity for their own decision and possible unfortunat­e consequenc­es, is unreasonab­le.

Ellie’s tip of the day

Delete the email bombardmen­t of another’s political views. If asked directly, say you agree to disagree.

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