Friendships with People with Completely Different POV's

canbelto

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,878
Ok so ... I was reading a NYTimes article on friendships ending today:


And I'm thinking about a friendship I've been considering terminating. This friend is in my profession (longtime teacher) and when I was younger he gave me a lot of sage veteran teacher advice. He helped me through some really hard times personally and professionally. I'm truly grateful to him for being supportive of me when I needed it.

However he was always politically very conservative and recently has become way more so. It reached a head the other day when he was talking about families and he said that in the 1950's, things were better because the father was the breadwinner and the mother stayed at home. I said actually no, that wasn't "better" because if the father was a drunken wastrel or abusive the mother often had no recourse as she was completely financially dependent on her husband. And he said that still, females valued marriage more than they valued their kids, and that was a good thing. And that they were prepared to make "sacrifices" (like taking beatings) for the sake of keeping the family together.

I don't agree with any of this but I've heard this sort of worldview expressed many times so I'm like okay. But then he started going into Phyllis Schlafly territory by saying that men became irresponsible because females entering the workforce had "neutered" them. That when men knew they were the dominant authority in society, in the workplace, and in the home, they had more of a sense of responsibility, but since females started "disrupting" that order they became less responsible. I tried to play devil's advocate but he became really insistent on this, saying that he was around when women spent all their time at home and men "had their fun" and it was just a better system.

Has this ever happened to you guys? Where a friendship became strained because of big differences in worldviews? I don't know quite what to do here.
 

Vagabond

Well-Known Member
Messages
12,588
Has this ever happened to you guys? Where a friendship became strained because of big differences in worldviews? I don't know quite what to do here.
I would suggest that you start by trying to articulate reasons for maintaing the friendship. If whatever you do come up with isn't more compelling than the reasons you have from at least taking a step back, then perhaps it is time to move on. As the author of that piece in The New York Times says, not all friendships last.

I have had friendships with people with quite different world views; those that have ended usually did so for some other reason than that.
 

canbelto

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,878
Well to be honest I feel like a crappy person for terminating the friendship because when I was going through a lot of difficult times he was there for me. And I don;t want him to think that now that I'm less stressed over ... life, that I just walk away.
 

Vagabond

Well-Known Member
Messages
12,588
Well to be honest I feel like a crappy person for terminating the friendship because when I was going through a lot of difficult times he was there for me. And I don;t want him to think that now that I'm less stressed over ... life, that I just walk away.
But the reason for walking away wouldn't be that you are less stressed, but rather than your different views (and apparently his inability to respect your own view while disagreeing with it) are making you more stressed. Right?
 
Last edited:

misskarne

Handy Emergency Backup Mode
Messages
17,866
Sorry, don't even try to justify it - just tell him you're not having a toxic sexist pig in your life and walk away. Those people not only don't change, the more you try and debate with them the worse they get. He will never admit he is wrong because he will never believe he is wrong, and you arguing with him only reinforces his point (in his mind). He probably also rants about how "politically correct" the world is today, am I right?

And if he makes you feel like you owe him friendship because he helped you out once, leave immediately. That's manipulative and emotional abuse.
 

canbelto

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,878
This is his blog:

You can get a feel for his general worldview. But yeah, he's one of those who believes that political correctness is "killing society." And we got into a disagreement about immigration when he said that his ancestors who were immigrants were "different" because they had "traditional values."
 

Japanfan

Well-Known Member
Messages
21,230
Canbelto, he is diminishing the value of women, and his ideas are misogynistic. I assume that you are a woman, in which case he is diminishing and insulting you. Just because he was there for you doesn't mean you have to maintain the friendship. If you feel that you 'owe' him, you could always help him out in a pinch, without remaining a close friend.
 

canbelto

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,878
Canbelto, he is diminishing the value of women, and his ideas are misogynistic. I assume that you are a woman, in which case he is diminishing and insulting you. Just because he was there for you doesn't mean you have to maintain the friendship. If you feel that you 'owe' him, you could always help him out in a pinch, without remaining a close friend.
Yes I'm a female, also a child of immigrants, and a minority (Asian). So this is getting harder and harder to tolerate.
 

once_upon

New condo owner
Messages
11,744
I would ask myself - what does this friendship provide me? Not what DID it, but what DOES it today.

If you can't find an answer or validation for today's friendship, it's time cut your friendship and let it go.
 

Dobre

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,226
Yes I'm a female, also a child of immigrants, and a minority (Asian). So this is getting harder and harder to tolerate.
If you are not interested in walking away, then perhaps an alternative is to see if you can set the boundary of not discussing politics as part of your relationship? I know someone who did this successfully with a true friend whom he was concerned about losing after said friend won a spot in local public office. My acquaintance explained that his own experience in a similar role was that--after fending off many challenges to his political stances from everyone who happened to sit down by him for the duration of said role--he had found himself dreading discussions even with those close to him. He didn't want his friend to have this same dread whenever they ran into each other so politics became off-limits for them. In the end, it was better for their friendship.

I'd say if this friend cannot respect who you are and/or your own views and/or cannot respect your desire to refrain from discussing them, then he is making the conscious choice not to value the friendship, itself, either. Regardless of sex, age, race, etc. It sounds like the heart of your friendship is grounded in your mutual interests within the work place. Perhaps there is enough there beyond politics to maintain that connection, and perhaps not. At heart, I'm sure you are the one to know. Personally, I think you should never have to dread a casual conversation with a friend.
 

snoopy

Well-Known Member
Messages
11,400
I just wouldn’t talk politics. I don’t talk politics with several friends and family members. It’s not only about maintaining the relationship but being cognizant of the ability to be a positive influence in others lives so that they may change or temper their views over time. There is a sort of sacrifice on my part to keep quiet or be annoyed but we need to work if we want to see change.
 

canbelto

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,878
I just wouldn’t talk politics. I don’t talk politics with several friends and family members. It’s not only about maintaining the relationship but being cognizant of the ability to be a positive influence in others lives so that they may change or temper their views over time. There is a sort of sacrifice on my part to keep quiet or be annoyed but we need to work if we want to see change.
Well I've been trying not to talk politics but somehow he always turns it around to politics. Like ever since Trump got elected he's become different, and more insistent on how great things were "back then." But then again I'm fully aware that he might have always been like this, just that when I knew him in the past I was overwhelmed with work and personal problems, and politics was just a blip on the screen for me.
 

watchthis!!

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,489
I agree with @snoopy to avoid topics that are not enjoyable to talk about. Maybe keep a list of things you like talking with him about and give him a copy of it. You could also add a "topics to avoid" list. If the conversation ends up on an AVOID topic, let him know you'd like to change the subject. And maybe set a limit to how many times you can handle ending up at an AVOID topic. Like if it happens three times, stand up and say, "thank you for the visit, but the conversation has veered into uncomfortable territory three times now and three is my cue to bow out". Then leave. 🙂

I admire you not wanting to throw in the towel so easily on this friendship. If you try to make it work, I'd like to hear how things progress. Maybe he will be willing to compromise some if he knows the friendship is at stake. Best of luck to you! ❤
 

pat c

Spring....bring it.
Messages
12,057
I have found this helpful on occasion. People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.


When someone is in your life for a REASON it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.

They have come to assist you through a difficulty…

To provide you with guidance and support…...........

Then without any wrongdoing on your part, or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.

It sounds like you're there. Good luck.
 

Matryeshka

Well-Known Member
Messages
14,025
If you have to have a list of “safe” topics, you already aren’t friends.

I have a friend who has become more conservative as she’s gotten older (and in a different tax bracket). When I’m around her friends, I keep my mouth shut. When she’s around mine, she does the same. But when we’re just us together, IT IS ON. There are no safe topics because the joy of friendship is you let down your guard.

Not to be too nosy and inappropriate but just based on what you’ve shared (and the experiences of my two close Asian friends) is there an element of fetishism? Both of my friends have had the experience of older white men being “friends” and then slowly becoming more dominant as the friendship went on. One of these girls was a coworker and I SAW IT HAPPEN and it was so disturbing and she was so torn because he was “so nice when she started.” Not saying it’s the case here but it’s something to consider. He was btw the reason neither of us are in publishing anymore. Maybe he just now feels safe enough to express his true feelings which have nothing to do with friendship and everything to do with dominance based on racism.
 

misskarne

Handy Emergency Backup Mode
Messages
17,866
Yes I'm a female, also a child of immigrants, and a minority (Asian). So this is getting harder and harder to tolerate.
Are you kidding?

What kind of friendship do you think you have when he thinks you're nothing but worthless trash, less than human, undeserving of rights? He has no respect for you. This is no longer a friendship, it is abuse, and you need to get rid of him.

And forget bullshit about that step being the "easy way out". No. No-one should ever have to put up with this in their lives. People who say that ending a relationship is the "easy way out" probably tell that to victims of domestic violence.
 

AxelAnnie

Well-Known Member
Messages
11,093
Well to be honest I feel like a crappy person for terminating the friendship because when I was going through a lot of difficult times he was there for me. And I don;t want him to think that now that I'm less stressed over ... life, that I just walk away.
How about just don't talk politics
 

Peaches LaTour

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,802
I have found this helpful on occasion. People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.


When someone is in your life for a REASON it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.

They have come to assist you through a difficulty…

To provide you with guidance and support…...........

Then without any wrongdoing on your part, or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.

It sounds like you're there. Good luck.
Wow! I am so glad you posted this! It helped me tremendously when a friendship of 30+ years died suddenly for a reason I could not understand.

It is excellent advise. Sometimes friendships just end or come to a point that they must end.

Hope that thought will help.
 

canbelto

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,878
Not to be too nosy and inappropriate but just based on what you’ve shared (and the experiences of my two close Asian friends) is there an element of fetishism? Both of my friends have had the experience of older white men being “friends” and then slowly becoming more dominant as the friendship went on. One of these girls was a coworker and I SAW IT HAPPEN and it was so disturbing and she was so torn because he was “so nice when she started.” Not saying it’s the case here but it’s something to consider. He was btw the reason neither of us are in publishing anymore. Maybe he just now feels safe enough to express his true feelings which have nothing to do with friendship and everything to do with dominance based on racism.
Idk. That's a good point. I think when I met him I was more the "damsel in distress." I'm not really but I was going through a difficult time. I don't think he got that that wasn't "me." It was "me" when life events started piling up and I was overwhelmed. But I am normally an opinionated person! I think he's having a harder time accepting that I have opinions and they're very different from his.
 

Aussie Willy

Hates both vegemite and peanut butter
Messages
22,121
Your true friends can get past any disagreeable POVs. There is always more to the friendship than just those and you move past them. There are other reasons to keep the friendship going.
 

ballettmaus

Well-Known Member
Messages
11,701
If you were a "damsel in distress" and he believes the 50s were a good time because women were more obedient then he might not have seen a friend in you in the first place but a weak woman who needed him, the strong male. In a world where women are a lot more confident and independent, he might have needed you to stroke his ego as much as you needed him.

From what you've said he doesn't respect women. So, can it be a true friendship if one party doesn't respect you and/or doesn't see you as an equal?

I also think that what you've said about him goes far beyond politics. If he thinks it was okay for a man to hit a woman on occasion and that she should take it then he believes that a man has a right to abuse a woman. That speaks to his character and mindset and is not just a subject one can avoid.
 

Japanfan

Well-Known Member
Messages
21,230
Your true friends can get past any disagreeable POVs. There is always more to the friendship than just those and you move past them. There are other reasons to keep the friendship going.
It really depends on what the POVs are about. POVs reflect values and beliefs, and friends often tend to be people with whom one shares values and beliefs to a certain extent.

I would not be able to be friend with someone who someone who is racist or misogynist. TBH I think I would have difficulty being friends with someone who is pro-life, because of what the viewpoint denotes about women.

And of course it depends on how close the friendship is - it is easier to have differences in values and beliefs with an acquaintance than a person one spends a lot of with and shares a lot with.


From what you've said he doesn't respect women. So, can it be a true friendship if one party doesn't respect you and/or doesn't see you as an equal?

I also think that what you've said about him goes far beyond politics. If he thinks it was okay for a man to hit a woman on occasion and that she should take it then he believes that a man has a right to abuse a woman. That speaks to his character and mindset and is not just a subject one can avoid.
This is a good example of what I'm referring to.
 

Wyliefan

Well-Known Member
Messages
26,292
I just finished reading this book, and it really hit home: Rising Out of Hatred: The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist https://www.amazon.com/dp/0385542860/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_6XTbDbYRV4KYQ.

I don't think I could ever date a white nationalist, as Derek Black's girlfriend did, even if I thought I could influence him for the better. But I do think it's worth reading about the role that his friends played in his life and what it was about them that changed him.

It sounds very pure and noble to say we won't associate with people who have terrible views. Unfortunately, if we don't, those views will probably never change and will continue to do great damage. Someone has to do the dirty work of reaching out, calling them to account, and showing them a better way. Sometimes those efforts don't bear fruit. But sometimes they do.

I'll be honest, the absolute worst experience of my life has been seeing loved ones succumb to Trumpism. It's been worse than having beloved relatives die or getting fired twice in two years. It's been horrifying (and reading that book and being reminded yet again, as if I needed it, just how very heinous Trumpism is made it horrifying all over again). But I stick with those relationships and I do the hard, dirty, usually thankless work of trying to change minds and hearts in any way I can.

Part of that is selfish -- I'd be left pretty darn lonely if I gave them all up. But part of it is just that I simply will not let this horrible ideology have the last word in their lives. Not if there's anything I can do to help open their eyes and bring them around.

After all, someone did that for me. Not that I ever gave in to Trumpism, but there was a LOT of evil that I did not see and went blithely along with even before Trump, and I'm deeply ashamed of that now. I owe a lot to the people who kindly but firmly pulled my hands away from my eyes. The least I can do is try to be that person for someone else.
 

Aussie Willy

Hates both vegemite and peanut butter
Messages
22,121
There appears to be a real lack of social filter these days. I think people are generally rude when it comes their approach to social media and that filters down into every day conversations. And there is a greater disparity between left and right wing thinking. Trump is more the symptom of it rather than the cause. But I think we need to be careful we don't fall into that trap of contributing to it.

Whenever I deal with someone who is like that I just don't join in the conversation. They are usually looking for a fight and to fuel their arguments. I try not to give them an ammunition.
 

KCC

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,625
I've dropped some relationships (even family relationships) from the "close/friend" status to the "light/acquaintance" status as our values, interests, lifestyles, beliefs, etc. drifted apart and don't feel bad about it at all. We still communicate, albeit less frequently, getting through whole conversations just fine discussing little more than the weather, daily activities, sometimes vacation travel and our general health -- the Christmas letter version of my life.
I moved away about 9 years ago and any long-term relationships are maintained by email and occasional phone calls, so some drifting in & out of the "friend range" can be expected just due to time and distance. For my handful of long-term close friends, we would each drop everything on a moment's notice to help the other out.
Fortunately, I found a new small circle of friends locally with overlapping interests and with whom I can have deeper, more personal conversations that cover hopes & fears, religion, politics, health & personal issues, etc. "Make good friends and keep the old...." as the song goes.

@canbelto, if I were in your position, I would either close down the friendship by directly challenging his positions, or back it down to the superficial level before letting it die on its own. The first option requires you to play tug of war, and the second one is where you just drop the rope, shrug and say it's not worth your time. The superficial option also might require you to master changing the subject or to find a reason to walk away. Good luck. I'm going through this with a long distance friend of about 35 years, and it is never easy.
 

manhn

Well-Known Member
Messages
12,399
My friends all share similar values. So, I haven't really had to deal with it. Even my family, we so rarely discuss politics. I think being one of the only Canadians within the extended family, they just nod and let me be.

The only time I have to deal with people with really different viewpoints are during FSU Meetups. Let's just say I am a Sale Pelletier uber...
 

Japanfan

Well-Known Member
Messages
21,230
The only time I have to deal with people with really different viewpoints are during FSU Meetups. Let's just say I am a Sale Pelletier uber...
I am also. :eek:

So, Jamie Sale has a fan club of two on FSU. :) But, probably best to keep quiet about it.
 

canbelto

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,878
If you were a "damsel in distress" and he believes the 50s were a good time because women were more obedient then he might not have seen a friend in you in the first place but a weak woman who needed him, the strong male. In a world where women are a lot more confident and independent, he might have needed you to stroke his ego as much as you needed him.

From what you've said he doesn't respect women. So, can it be a true friendship if one party doesn't respect you and/or doesn't see you as an equal?

I also think that what you've said about him goes far beyond politics. If he thinks it was okay for a man to hit a woman on occasion and that she should take it then he believes that a man has a right to abuse a woman. That speaks to his character and mindset and is not just a subject one can avoid.
He just thinks that the nuclear family needs to be maintained at all costs, and that means women making "sacrifices." I pointed out that in the 1950's there were plenty of broken homes. Maybe not as many official divorces but definitely plenty of broken homes where the mother and father either didn't live together, or the mother was abused, or the father drifted in and out of their lives. And he can't see that a woman being abused or children being abused is worse than a woman leaving that abusive relationship.

As I said, we also got in a disagreement about immigration, as his parents also immigrated but he said "but we were European." I said there was plenty of anti-Semitism in that time (he's Jewish). He thinks that Asians, Hispanics, and Africans who immigrate are "ruining the foundation of America."

I've sort of kept my distance since this conversation. I haven't defriended him or anything but I haven't initiated a conversation. But I appreicate the feedback. It's been very thought provoking.
 
Last edited:

ballettmaus

Well-Known Member
Messages
11,701
He just thinks that the nuclear family needs to be maintained at all costs, and that means women making "sacrifices."
Which I believe does mean that he thinks the woman is worth less. She is the one who has to make sacrifices. Not the guy. It seems he sees the guy as too important to make those sacrifices.


As I said, we also got in a disagreement about immigration, as his parents also immigrated but he said "but we were European." I said there was plenty of anti-Semitism in that time (he's Jewish). He thinks that Asians, Hispanics, and Africans who immigrate are "ruining the foundation of America."
:wideeyes: This is the kind of rhetoric Nazis used against Jews. Just saying.
 

once_upon

New condo owner
Messages
11,744
Has he considered that both people in a marriage or disolved marriage would be happier in other circumstances? I gather from snippets of my in laws relationship that FIL was abusive to MIL, but once they divorced and he found another woman to share his life he was not abusive to her and they (FIL and SMIL) they very happy.
Just because there are children doesn't make the relationship good.

I would have a big issue with his viewpoint and based on my personal beliefs could not/would not retain a friendship. But you need to do what you think is best.
 

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

Top