judgmental people on social media

Political Divide = Relationship Divide?

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I generally enjoy reading Facebook posts from my friends and family members.  These are people that I really care about. Social media sites, help me keep up with what is going on in their busy lives, laugh at silly memes or share a funny video. And let’s not forget the cute animal photos.

Unfortunately, over the past year or so, social media has become much less enjoyable for me. Between the posts about the protests, riots, political unrest and COVID-19, I am tempted to freeze all my social media accounts. If those sites did not also provide me a link to my family and friends, I would shut them all down.

Lately, I have been troubled by the way some people have turned their backs on friends and loved ones, because they have different political beliefs or opposing opinions. I read a post recently in which one person questioned whether or not she could remain friends with someone else who is on the opposite side of a political fence from her. 

If a political divide causes you to question whether or not you can be friends with or love another person, then I question whether or not there was ever any love between you in the first place. 

Love is not about having the same beliefs or belonging to the same political party.  Love is not about having the same skin color or nationality as another,  and it is certainly not about only loving someone who sees the world exactly as you do.  

Shaming and belittling others because they think differently than you do, is not likely to change their minds. Ranting on social media may make you feel better in the short term. At what cost? Who are you alienating? Which relationships are you damaging? Is it worth losing friendships over political differences?

When we only have friends who think like we do, behave like we do and look like we do, we shrink our experience of life.  Our differences make the world an interesting place to live.  Underneath these “skin coats” that we all wear, we are much more alike than we are different. Look for the areas of agreement with others.  Agree to disagree on the points where you don’t see eye to eye. Open your mind and accept others as they are.  That is true love.   

If you have a melt-down every time you read something that doesn’t agree with your beliefs, you might be tempted to stop all communication with that person.  Rather than tossing a friendship away or permanently cutting ties with a family member, a less permanent solution might be more helpful.  Most social media platforms offer some way to take a break from reading posts by particular people. You can “unfollow” them or temporarily mute their posts.   In most cases, they won’t even know you are taking a break from them.  It just might save a relationship.

We can each do our part to make the world a better place.

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