“I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.” – Thomas Jefferson
Something has been really bothering me for a while, and I have to just unload.
There is no surprise that we are a nation divided on so many levels these days. We can’t seem to find common ground on many topics. From religion to politics to the war of words between each other, there is an undercurrent of “I’m right, you’re wrong.” There are no disagreements between people anymore, as differences have evolved into “wars.” People have become entrenched in their camps, drawing lines in the sand, seeing everything in black and white, allowing no room for gray.
For the umpteenth time in several months, I have seen people post statuses on social media, and then request of their friends and followers the following: “If you don’t agree with _______ (fill in the blank), then unfriend me.”
Whether it is political, social, religious or whatever, the premise is that if I, or others, don’t believe in their cause or with their opinion, they don’t want my friendship online.
But I also take that as they don’t want my friendship. At all. Period.
I take umbrage with that.
I am blessed that I have a huge family and many friends and colleagues. If I have sent a friend request to someone, or accepted an invitation from another, it is because I value the person and want to be in contact. I want to share in their joys, accomplishments and celebrations, offer support during tough times, commiserate about the weather, engage in dialogue, share recipes or great places to dine, see what is happening in their lives. I want to see photos of their family, vacation, garden, artwork or how much snow was dumped in their corner of the world. I want to read their blog posts, or read what they found interesting or enlightening. For me, there is a connection with the individual – online and offline – and I feel privileged to be a part of that friend’s life.
But I am growing weary of the the “un-friend” me requests. I may not share your religious, social or political views. I may not like your favorite animal or artist or movie or music. I may not like your haircut or the way you clean (or don’t clean) your house. I may not like the state you live in or the hobbies you have or the car you drive. I may not like the charities you support. I may not like that you don’t support charities. I may not like the joke you shared or the beverage you drink. I may not cheer for the same team you do or like your stance on something or agree with your parenting views.
But I like you.
With all our differences of opinions. With everything that makes us completely different or polar opposites. We have a history. We have shared life and secrets and dreams and conversations.
I like you. My friend.
Why do we need to be in complete agreement on everything in order to remain friends? Why do our differences – or our perceived differences – have to be the end of a friendship – online or in person? Is it easier to let people out of our lives with the click of a mouse than over a meal at a local diner?
Maybe we can just chop our online friend lists so easily, because we see each other as a status with a profile photo and not for who they really are – a living, breathing person.
If I were to unfriend someone each time we didn’t see eye-to-eye, I would be posting statuses and photos for my own enjoyment.
Go ahead and unfriend me. That’s okay. But for the sake of friendship, I won’t unfriend you. Because with all that is wrong in this crazy world, we can’t have too many friends, whether we are in agreement on all subjects or not.
What do you think? Share in the comment section. If this post resonates with you, feel free to share with others.
© Lynne Cobb – 2014