Let’s *Not* Be Friends

I don’t make a habit of posting my opinions on social media. I occasionally post something funny or hopefully interesting. Maybe a vacation picture or two. But mostly I just like to read about the happenings in the lives of my friends and some long time acquaintances, to read the latest weird or obscure news, or to see how much your kids have grown since they started school last year. I really do have a very diverse group of friends from all over the world and I love this about my feed.

As you know, many people do post their opinions on many topics, ranging from specific (their position on Colin Kaepernick’s protest of the National Anthem or their opinion on the 2nd Amendment) to general (political or religious views). I may or may not have an opinion on these things. I may even “like” someone’s post if I feel that they have expressed themselves in a particularly articulate way, whether or not I agree with the opinion itself. Occasionally, I might even post or comment with a link to an article supporting or opposing that opinion, which may or may not represent my actual belief but which I think might offer an interesting perspective.

It doesn’t bother me that I don’t agree with everything I see posted in my feed. I am not looking for homogeneity among my friends, I am looking for diversity. I appreciate the different viewpoints and feel I can learn from them.

But this election season — and let’s face it, it has been a very long one — has really challenged my resolve. A few times I have considered leaving and not coming back, or at least not until sometime after the election… but I would miss all those good things. And it’s not that I can’t tolerate your opinion on why you don’t think one candidate or the other is no good.

I can’t tolerate your hate.

And this is the part that I am finding really hard to believe. You are intelligent and old enough to have lived through some “stuff” (or at least have heard about some “stuff” that happened in the not so distant past). You might be white, male, and Christian, but I bet you know someone who isn’t all three of those things, or at least not one of the three. And I bet they have had some experiences where they have felt oppressed, or discriminated against, or frightened. Or the history of their people have. Or worse. You might not.

And yet you hate. And post your hate for all to see. And seem surprised by the hate that comes back.

Well. I. Just. Can’t.

So in the past it was enough for me to simply block you so I didn’t see your hate in my feed, and you wouldn’t even know.

But I just can’t anymore.

So we are no longer friends. You don’t deserve to see my posts. You don’t get to see my pictures, my favorite recipes, or whatever silly (or great) thing I am up to lately.

For those posting thoughtful, tasteful, articulate opinions (along with pictures of your beautiful children and crazy pet videos), by all means, let’s remain friends. It doesn’t matter if I don’t agree, that’s not the point: it is your opinion and you are entitled to it, and I am interested in what you have to say because you are an intelligent, articulate friend of mine.

But if all you have to share is hatred, you can save me the effort and unfriend me now, because I just can’t.

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