Your ended friendship is not Donald Trump’s fault or Nancy Pelosi’s fault, not Mitch McConnell’s or AOC’s fault. It’s not because of racism or sexism or environmentalism or capitalism or socialism or any of the other isms. Relationships don’t end due to “these crazy times” or “how intense it is right now.” It’s because of you — or him. A person decided to end a friendship, for whatever reason.
Yes, people often feel very strongly about certain beliefs they hold. People regularly, naturally, make choices based on the power of their beliefs. I do not judge. I have been there, I have felt the fire plenty of times — the fury, the horror, the despair — and have acted on it. This is neither here nor there. If you have come to the conclusion that your beliefs are more important than your friends (or family), then that is how it is. I am just saying — accept that it's your choice.
The state of things might not be in our hands, but how we react to it all is.
Now hold on a sec while I do, in fact, judge the idea of ditching one’s friends over differing beliefs. No — not judge. Present an argument. Put forth a hypothesis, explore a point, make a suggestion that it is not worth putting one’s beliefs above one’s relationships. Let me just say, “It’s fine if you want to ditch your friends over differing beliefs, but consider this—”
What if it’s better for us all if we keep adversity and diversity in our lives, if our beliefs and ideas and opinions are challenged? What if we’re better off choosing connection over separation, better off working together — regardless?
Think of Congress. Think of how nothing happens in the government when nobody’s crossing the aisle. What if the same principles happen in our own lives, and progress, however you see it, is stunted or even stopped when we’re not crossing the aisles that open up between us every day?
Think about how the most successful people typically don’t hire yes-men. They hire people who challenge them, who will stand up to them, who have different backgrounds, different ways of thinking and different skills than they have.
What if every superhero had the exact same power? Not only would it get boring watching five Hulks stomp around and crush things, it would be stagnant. Who would calm him down, who would strategize, who would sneak up for a surprise attack? The Avengers work because everyone has something different to bring to the table. Things work -- and are more interesting -- when there are different parts with different purposes coming together.
Rather than cutting each other off, cutting each other out, maybe it would be better to work towards understanding. And if we can’t understand, to cultivate peace with not understanding.
There is so much more to someone — to everyone — than the thing(s) we don’t like about him.
If you believe in something so strongly that you’re willing to lose your friends over it, it might be especially important for you to consider not losing your friends, even though it sometimes hurts to listen to them.
Because the only way you are actually going to create the world you’d like to see is by continuing the dialog.