Dear Carolyn: I have been very good friends with another girl for many years. We’re both in our 20s and have always had very different political views. This has never been too much of a problem because we learned to skirt most issues and “agree to disagree.”
I’ve been noticing more recently that her views are affecting our friendship. My boyfriend has been hesitant to spend time with her and her boyfriend because of the extreme comments he has written on Facebook. Most recently, some of my friends and I hung out with her and her boyfriend, and had a few drinks. This turned into her making some comments that were, in my mind, downright ignorant. My friends really don’t like her now and my boyfriend seems to agree.
She and her boyfriend know we’re not the right audience for their crazy banter, so how do I tell her not to bring that stuff up because it’s hurting our friendship? – Left and right side
Maybe I’m just cranky, but that sounded like a threat: “Quit your wing-nut comments or else.”
It’s not your place to silence someone’s views with ultimatums, even ones you find “downright ignorant.” As long as you choose to remain her friend, you’re choosing that side of her, too.
It does seem, too, as if you’re ready to bury your truce before it’s actually dead. Your boyfriend is reacting to her boyfriend’s Facebook posts, that’s one thing you cite. The other is that your friend made “some comments” the other night.
That amounts to her violating your agree-to-disagree pact exactly once. Does that really warrant your calling her out?
If she keeps spewing, then certainly you’re entitled to make a request. Just as you’d say when choosing a movie together, “No horror or musicals, please, they give me nightmares,” you can also say, “No politics, please, it gives me nightmares.”
That is, if you still like her. This one night seems to be deep under your skin, so maybe the real problem is that the reasons you’re “very good friends” are in the past, and what’s left are wincing (around your other friends, cough), avoidance and nostalgia. Completely normal. In that case, find polite ways to see less of this friend.
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