Do you have a politically obsessed friend?
Having trouble dealing with them?
No matter which position of the political spectrum you are on, you doubtless have a friend on the opposite side and attached to their position.
It’s natural to become impassioned about a political issue or another. But what happens when your friend become so consumed by their positions they become obsessed? What happens when they are blinded to logic, unable to engage in normal discourse and are even obnoxious to others?
A friend of mine posted this message on Facebook:
“Truth. Justice. Equality. Freedom. If any of those words mean anything to you, you will understand what I am about to say: I despise any brown person who continue to support and enable Trump and this administration, more than I despise Trump himself. You may say, who cares? Good question, I’m inconsequential. But Truth, Justice, Equality, Freedom, are not.”
This friend, along with many others, despises the President of the United States.
They expect everyone who is brown (as this friend is) to share their political view.
That is a racist position!
This person will despise any brown friend, more than they hate the president (didn’t think this was possible), if their brown friend doesn’t share the same political views.
Now I’m sure there is hyperbole in this post. At least I hope so.
If not, then the answer to the question, “what to do about your obnoxious politically obsessed friend” would be straightforward.
To disengage. To lose the friend.
But is that the right answer?
A Great Response
This post, by another friend in an unrelated thread, took a very different view:
“Some of the most incredible people I know voted for Donald Trump, and some of the most incredible people I know voted for Hillary Clinton.
The people that I know that voted for Trump are not racist, misogynistic, or hateful, and the people that voted for Hillary Clinton are not hateful and intolerable.
If you are someone that woke up this morning and is going to start seeing people as who they voted for, and not as the person you have always known them to be, then you are what is wrong with America.
I will never think any less of a person who has different views than me, because some of the most beautiful, inspirational people I know will disagree with what I believe with all day long, but at the end of the day they are still that beautiful inspirational person I have always known them as.
Don’t think less of people because some of their beliefs don’t align with yours and don’t lose quality people in your life because you choose hate over love.”
Now that’s a great response, though I doubt it will soothe my obsessed friend.
What could you do?
Breathe before you reply
First things first.
Don’t fire back a response pointing out the logical flaws in your friends post. That will most likely lead to a escalating ping pong game of logical and illogical statements.
Breathe. Wait a while.
Let the moment pass and if you feel so strongly later, then take the time to pen a thoughtful fact-based and unemotional response.
Be prepared for an emotional reply.
Ignore using technology
Consider using technology to help you ignore the rants and raves.
Most social media tools allow you to mute, temporarily or permanently hide posts by someone whose views you would prefer to avoid.
Be prepared to lose a friend
If your friend crosses your lines, call them out, and be prepared to walk away from the friend.
If your friend defines themselves based on their political beliefs, if they hate you for disagreeing with them, then there isn’t much basis for a friendship.
What would you do?
What has worked, what hasn’t been effective, for you?
Ignore this friend (mute them on Facebook)?
Engage them in civil dialogue? Where would you start?
Walk away from this friend (unfriend them on Facebook)?
Interested in hearing from you…