Thursday, May 7, 2009

Politics and Friends - is it possible?


"Friendship" by Jofel Tobias

"Friends are those who know all about you and still put up with your crap!" 
(don't know where I read this so if it's you, I will be happy to give you credit, just leave me a comment)

I do not like debates or confrontations, nor do I like to impose my views on anyone, at least not on purpose.  I may occasionally have a brief discussion about politics or religion with someone who is more like me - non-confrontational and those usually end with a roaring laugh and we move on to more present issues like "what the heck is he putting in his mouth now--eww!"

However, I have several friends who absolutely love to talk politics AND religion.  Not just talk, they will fight you tooth and nail about what they think is the "real truth" and even go as far as quoting several TV and Radio personalities who supposedly "know the truth."  I don't care much for what TV and Radio people say because for the most part, they are imposing their views on us as well and many are just trying really hard to scare the bejeezus out of people and life is just too short to live in fear.  Anyway, I'm more interested in what my kids have to say and how their day at school went and how my clients feel after a good workout...and, oh my gosh it's almost 5 and I haven't even started dinner!!

Some of my friends already know how I feel and try to avoid the subject but somehow always manage to go there and it makes me avoid their calls, just sometimes.  I love my friends, don't get me wrong, I don't let their views get in the way of my affection for them. But it just seems so much more difficult to visit with them and have good old fashion fun when we're both edgy about any topic.  Me because I don't want to say anything that might open up a can of worms and them because they are trying to avoid the topic so hard that they stop having fun.

Case in point--I invited one of my really good friends to a girls get away and for the first time she told me why she could not come.  She said "I just wont have fun because you guys don't like to talk about the things that interest me, like the current events, i.e. politics, economy, religion, etc."  My answer was, "why do we have to touch any of those topics, ever. Can't we just talk about life, our kids, where we hope to be in ten years, our dreams or heck the sunset, that would be an awesome conversation starter."  Well, she's not coming and I guess it's for the best :-(

I actually stress when we have friends come over whose views are our polar opposites because I'm afraid someone will get on a subject of insulting a political somebody and it will all go downhill from there.  Recently I decided that the best way for me to deal with this particular stressor is to identify immediately when the conversation gets sour and kindly tell my friends the following:  "It's obvious that we have different viewpoints so lets agree to disagree now, hey did you like the wine, would like something else to eat, so how are the kids....etc."

I just feel that everyone has a right to their beliefs and their opinions but I don't think it's my place to use my social time to impress my views on my friends.  If the purpose of our meeting is to discuss the current state of the nation, political views and/or religious views, then I will do my homework so that I can try to have an intelligent conversation, share my views and hope we could still be friends in the end.  Otherwise, I just want to have a nice visit, share some family updates, maybe even talk about the past or the future without getting into a heated debate about who said what and who is wrong or who ate what where, etc.

I have better things to do with my time.  My family, education, job, home, living healthy...living everyday as the gift that it is.  I also like to drink my wine, eat good food and laugh...now THAT I will share with my friends!!