Author Topic: Why would you want to be friends when we are so stupid to you?  (Read 3586 times)

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Jem

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I have an acquaintance, not quite a friend, but someone I believe could be a friend, who is also a Facebook friend.  This woman is also “friends” with many in my social group.

I have been blessed to be a part of a large group of friends and we regularly have parties at each other’s houses.  This group spawned from some people who worked together and played hard together.  Maybe it is because the group grew from a certain work environment, but we all seem to lean one way politically.  While we never talk politics, it still is how we live our lives. 

This woman, who I know would like to be included in more things with us, is openly hostile to our political viewpoint on her Facebook page.  While she is allowed to post whatever she wants and I know that I am also allowed to keep her feed from my page, when I know that she is posting something that basically says that I’m a terrible, stupid, lazy person for my beliefs, it is hard to want to be friends.

Should I say something to her that maybe, if you would like to pursue closer friendships with us, that you shouldn’t accept our hospitality one evening and then post something the next day about how everybody in our political party is stupid for believing what we believe?  Or is the polite thing to do is cool off the budding friendship and block her feed?

Note - occasionally some of us will debate her on her page, but it never spills over into real life.  With the election coming up, her postings have gotten "meaner".


Reason

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Re: Why would you want to be friends when we are so stupid to you?
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2012, 02:08:20 PM »
To me this sounds like a case where it's best to say nothing unless the opinionated offender is already a close friend. As it stands I am not sure why you would want to pursue a friendship with a person who is unable to compartmentalize her political beliefs to avoid insulting those who do not agree with her.

It's not your responsibility to teach her how to live her life, and since there doesn't seem to be any background or history that would necessitate you pointing out that she may be alienating potential friends I think it's best to leave it alone and limit/stop contact.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2012, 02:14:10 PM by Reason »

Clair Seulement

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Re: Why would you want to be friends when we are so stupid to you?
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2012, 02:12:21 PM »
How do you know she wants to be included more? Does she confront you or others in your group about it? If not I would say nothing; she's gotta know (or be on the verge of figuring out) that you're one of the people she spouts off about. The reason you're not closer may dawn on her someday.

If she does come out and ask why you don't include her...I'm afraid I got nothin'! So awkward...

Calypso

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Re: Why would you want to be friends when we are so stupid to you?
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2012, 03:18:06 PM »
This is what makes me so sad about the general level of political discourse in the U.S. Why can't we have a discussion about ideas without making everything so danged nasty and personal? I know (way back in the day....) that Liberal ******* congressmen and Conservative ******* congressmen used to be able to "leave it at the office" and actually socialize together as friends. But, alas, "message crafters" or whatever you want to call them saw how "effective" attack ads and screaming nasty talk shows and so forth were at getting votes and ratings....and so many of us have followed suit like sheep. Now a politician who speaks politely to or of his political opposite is accused of being a traitor to his party!

While you can't politely confront maybe-someday-friend about what she posts on her wall, I don't see anything wrong with saying (in person would be better than on facebook) "you know, Jan, I've enjoyed getting to know you at these parties, and I'd like to know you better----but, when I see what you say about people in my political group on facebook, I wonder if you're thinking those things about me, personally?" And then see what she says.


Clair Seulement

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Re: Why would you want to be friends when we are so stupid to you?
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2012, 04:05:21 PM »
This is what makes me so sad about the general level of political discourse in the U.S. Why can't we have a discussion about ideas without making everything so danged nasty and personal? I know (way back in the day....) that Liberal ******* congressmen and Conservative ******* congressmen used to be able to "leave it at the office" and actually socialize together as friends. But, alas, "message crafters" or whatever you want to call them saw how "effective" attack ads and screaming nasty talk shows and so forth were at getting votes and ratings....and so many of us have followed suit like sheep. Now a politician who speaks politely to or of his political opposite is accused of being a traitor to his party!

While you can't politely confront maybe-someday-friend about what she posts on her wall, I don't see anything wrong with saying (in person would be better than on facebook) "you know, Jan, I've enjoyed getting to know you at these parties, and I'd like to know you better----but, when I see what you say about people in my political group on facebook, I wonder if you're thinking those things about me, personally?" And then see what she says.

I remember, in the '90s, actually enjoying political debate among friends. Of course, it would sometimes get heated but not *personal*--maybe just some frustration at having to agree to disagree, or not getting a point across. Then again, those were my college years, so I was around people who were reading a lot and "finding themselves" (I was also a poli-sci minor). Still, I feel like it's different right this minute. I think in the '90s the zeitgeist was nonconformity, whereas today there's a witch-hunt mentality forcing people onto sides of an issue (if you're not for us you're against us kind of thing).

Haha, I sound like a character in Portlandia...


blarg314

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Re: Why would you want to be friends when we are so stupid to you?
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2012, 04:14:39 AM »

Do you *want* to invite her to your parties and get to know her better, or do you just feel that she wants this?  Has she asked, outright, why she isn't invited to more things, or closer to you?

If you'd like to pursue a friendship with her or have a close friendship that's being threatened by the political stuff, then it might be a good idea to speak up.

If she's the one who would like to be closer, or invited to more things, then I'd go with blocking the feed and backing away slowly.

Basically, I've found that offering unsolicited criticism to someone, particularly over something that is potentially very emotional and contentious, rarely goes well. She feels attacked for her political views, attacks you in turn, and it goes downhill from there. So I tend not to do it unless I'm in a position where it's my responsibility (mentoring or supervising someone), or if I care enough about them to suffer the potentially nasty consequences of speaking up.

If she's asking why she's not invited, then you are able to give an answer, if you want. "You have some pretty strongly expressed political opinions, and I don't think it would go well at the party."


baglady

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Re: Why would you want to be friends when we are so stupid to you?
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2012, 10:00:49 PM »

Do you *want* to invite her to your parties and get to know her better, or do you just feel that she wants this?  Has she asked, outright, why she isn't invited to more things, or closer to you?

If you'd like to pursue a friendship with her or have a close friendship that's being threatened by the political stuff, then it might be a good idea to speak up.

If she's the one who would like to be closer, or invited to more things, then I'd go with blocking the feed and backing away slowly.

Basically, I've found that offering unsolicited criticism to someone, particularly over something that is potentially very emotional and contentious, rarely goes well. She feels attacked for her political views, attacks you in turn, and it goes downhill from there. So I tend not to do it unless I'm in a position where it's my responsibility (mentoring or supervising someone), or if I care enough about them to suffer the potentially nasty consequences of speaking up.

If she's asking why she's not invited, then you are able to give an answer, if you want. "You have some pretty strongly expressed political opinions, and I don't think it would go well at the party."

If she's the one who wants to be invited, then try making it about you plural, not her. "Well, we tend to get into political discussions at these get-togethers, and you know most of us are Unicorn Party. We'd be worried about making you feel uncomfortable or ganged-up-on, being a devoted Gryphon Party voter."

ETA: OK, I reread the OP and it says you don't actually talk politics. So you can Emily Litella the above.

I'm wondering, though, if, contrary to Reason's theory, she *does* compartmentalize -- i.e., she keeps her political beliefs in a separate mental "compartment" from her feelings toward friends/acquaintances. So if she says, "I believe that giving goats the right to vote for president is nuts," she honestly doesn't think she's saying that people who want the vote for goats are nuts.

I have FB and RL friends who don't share my politics. We've had some pretty lively debates. But if they really thought I was nuts/deluded/immature/(your adjective here) for believing as I do, or vice versa, we wouldn't be friends.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2012, 10:17:56 PM by baglady »
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greencat

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Re: Why would you want to be friends when we are so stupid to you?
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2012, 10:27:00 PM »
I've done the "You do realize I'm a (political word), right friend?  And that (mutual friends) are too?  Why are you saying all (political words) are (bad thing) when you know we're not?"

However, that's for friends.  I'd just stop the becoming-friends process with an acquaintance.

Danika

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Re: Why would you want to be friends when we are so stupid to you?
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2012, 12:05:24 AM »
I've done the "You do realize I'm a (political word), right friend?  And that (mutual friends) are too?  Why are you saying all (political words) are (bad thing) when you know we're not?"

However, that's for friends.  I'd just stop the becoming-friends process with an acquaintance.

That's what I do, too.

Many of my FB friends (so, friends from college, coworkers of my DH, etc) will post things like:
"I am pro Unicorn party. Long live the Unicorns"
or
"Praise the Deity. Deity religion is the only true one."

and I just let those go, even if I dislike Unicorns and that Deity.

But if someone were outright being negative and condescending like:

"If you don't vote Unicorn in this election, you are responsible for the bad economy and all the homeless people"
or
"If you don't believe in Deity, you are going to die in a lake of fire and you are a sinner"

then I would weigh my options. I have a cousin who is super into her political party. I just roll my eyes and move on because we get along about other things, but she does not have her life together and so I don't believe she sets the bar on all that is logical and wise.

But if I had an acquaintance who did that over and over and it was always negative, I might say "Hey, you know, I'm in the X party. And I don't believe in Deity. But you still like baking pies with me and scrapbooking. You think I'm Betty Crocker, not a sinner."

Jem

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Re: Why would you want to be friends when we are so stupid to you?
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2012, 09:50:18 AM »
OP here -

To answer some questions, yes, she has expressed interest in being closer to this group of friends.  Another person in our group recently had a get together and while we always send on e-mails and texts to people, who for some reason weren't included in the first go-around, this time the e-mail went out and all other names were hidden.  She made a comment later about how she would love to be included next time.

I guess that when I say she bad mouths my political party, I wasn't clear.  She'll repost things she finds and makes little comments about them.  These, though, are usually negative towards the other party.  I actually tested out Danika's suggestion and after a post about how people in my party are usually *this stupid thing or else *this stupid other thing, I posted "So which one do you consider me?".  She never responded back to me but changed the subject on the thread.

At this point I've decided that we are all grown-ups and blocking her feed would probably be the best thing until at least December.  As for the friendship, if it happens, it happens, but I don't have the energy to try and stay away from touchy subjects when I'm trying to relax with my friends. 

I'm not responsible for her hurt feels and if her feelings are hurt, then she needs to understand and take responsibility for her own actions.  That is a hard lesson for me to remember sometimes.

courtsmad25

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Re: Why would you want to be friends when we are so stupid to you?
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2012, 12:56:02 PM »
Sometimes you just have to say or think "thats the great thing about out country, everyone is entitled to their viewpoints" then move on.. I know it can be hard..I lean pretty far one way along with my family members, however my husband, several of my closest friends and coworkers lean the other way, and it's all good.