The country feels more divided than ever before due to recent elections, COVID-19 and other political subjects. Even the slightest mention of a controversial topic can ignite a discussion between two friends that leads to injured and broken relationships. Finding that the person you are dating belongs to the opposing political party can be a major deal breaker for some. Family gatherings such as Thanksgiving and Christmas can be unbearable for family members that have clashing political views.
Political views can mirror an individual’s personal values, which is where conflicts can arise. Human rights topics, such as LGBTQ+ rights, have ruined many family dinners in the United States, and can be one of the biggest factors in determining friendships. Other controversial topics include abortion, the Second Amendment, police brutality, immigration and more.
Even if your political views do not match those of another person, they should not be considered your enemy, and should not be a reason to automatically hate them. However, the importance of maintaining a healthy and productive relationship is paramount. When your conflicting views lead to constant arguing and ceaseless hostility in your relationship, it can be a sign that you are not compatible with each other. In a perfect world, everyone would get along no matter what they personally believed in, and there would be no animosity between those with contrasting views. However, the reality is not perfect.
“I don’t think political parties should be the sole determinant of a friendship. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions of course, but when a political debate negatively bashes the other person it can also be the factor that breaks the friendship or relationship,” said Haya Shilleh, a senior. “But some things can’t be debated, such as human rights, which could make or break the relationship”.
In the end, the only person who can tell you if you can be friends with that person is you. Being respectful of everyone’s political opinions should be the goal.