Religion and politics — two topics that one is never supposed to bring up in polite company. Among friends, these topics are discussed, argued, laughed about, and cried about. Friendships are strengthened or broken. After a fierce election season, how do you move forward with your friends who voted for the other guy? Is it possible to patch your friendship up despite a political divide?
Here are six things to consider to maintain a friendship strained by the election season.
1) Remember the Foundation
Remember what it was that brought you and your friend together in the first place. Out of all of my friendships, it’s my shared interests with my friends that helped to begin them. Perhaps it’s a shared experience that helped forge a bond.
2) What Defines Your Friend?
Politics does not completely define who we are. So, remember that your friend is not defined completely by their political stance and neither are you. It might help to sit down and write down all of the good qualities your friend possesses.
3) Good Humor
One hearty laugh together will bring enemies into a closer communion of heart than hours spent on both sides in inward wrestling with the mental demon of uncharitable feeling. - William James
The friends we can laugh with the most are usually our closest friends. Try to find humorous things about politics you can share. Plus, it helps to have a sense of humor about most things political.
4) What You Can Control
Like with most relationships, the only thing you can really control is how you behave. Maybe your friend said some hurtful things, or they made some political comments that really got under your skin. Perhaps you might need some space from that person. After a brief respite you can rekindle your friendship. All the while, you can take small steps to show your friend that you still care about them.
If you are the friend who said hurtful things, then apologizing would help towards a reunion. Again, some distance might be necessary as well to help the waters settle.
Above all, respect is the key issue. Keep in mind that you cannot change your friend’s mind and that they are an adult who is able to make informed decisions. You might learn that politics is an issue that both of you need to avoid discussing. Again, concentrate on what it is that brings you together.
Photo courtesy wickenden