Hard Friendship  

Harpocrates7 42M
184 posts
8/13/2006 6:26 am

Last Read:
8/19/2006 7:27 am

Hard Friendship

"Don't flatter yourself that friendship authorizes you to say disagreeable things to your intimates. The nearer you come into relation with a person, the more necessary do tact and courtesy become. Except in cases of necessity, which are rare, leave your friend to learn unpleasant things from his enemies; they are ready enough to tell them." --Oliver Wendell Holmes

One of my dearest friends was over the other night, and our friendship was put to the test. The two most damaging things to discuss in any relationship were brought up (my fault): Religion and Politics. My friend is a Christian, and I'm agnostic. I've been avoiding religion for years because I didn't want him to pity me (assuming he would, but he is a better person than that) and pray that I change my mind someday (which is possible, which is why I'm agnostic) so that I get the golden key to heaven. The conversation actually went fairly well, and I was able to challenge him in regard to Christian thought. I was not sporting to change his beliefs. My goal was for him to understand that I can empathize with some teachings from the bible and I can relate to the spirituality he feels--and how it helps to guide his life.

So, that conversation poured into politics. Now this is the part where I dropped bombs and may have hurt our friendship. He is a conservative (not right wing, so there is hope for him). He believes we should support our president (even though he doesn't always agree with all of his policies and decisions). Well, I spouted off and said that Bush is evil, I abhor him, and I hope he died in his sleep(only my opinion, not a threat). That really hurt my friend--I could see it on his face. I felt bad for hurting him, but didn't apologize for my hatred of Bush--that will never happen. In the end, my ego and stubborn nature probably set us back a notch (we'll continue to be close friends). I've never subscribed to the idea of not talking about issues with friends, but I believe there are issues that can really test friendship--so all you guys, be careful.

Has anyone had a set back in a friendship over issues (politics, religion, etc)? If so, what and why?

EroticaXTC 49F

8/13/2006 7:02 am

I believe that in any relationship, the people involved have to maintain respectful boundaries. Knowing where those boundaries lie is important, if not crucial. Disagreements, arguments, skirmishes, differences of opinion...those are the things that either turn one friend into a brother/sister, or into another acquaintance. It all depends upon the character of the people involved, and the intent behind the words.
I had a friend from the age of 6, who turned on me one night in one of her infamous alcoholic stupors...and the things she uttered intended to hurt me. The words she said did not matter, as I knew them to be untrue, but her intention was clear. This was 6 years ago, and I keep her as an acquaintance. She crossed a boundary I never would have.


8/13/2006 7:07 am

Yes, my best friend and I didn't talk for about 18 months. She began and affair with a married man which I am adamantly opposed to. She was too until she met this man. She criticized women for going after married men and the hurt they could be inflicting on people, but then she goes an does it. I cannot be a hypocrite and I cannot hide my feelings. We eventually started talking again, but had to decide that topic was just not one we could discuss.

angelofmercy5 58F
17881 posts
8/13/2006 7:08 am

I think sometimes when you truly care about a person.....you back off of things that you can choose to disagree about. You respect that you each have your own personal viewpoints about some things....ie Bush.....and mutually agree to disagree. Then move onto conversation that reflects what you enjoy about each other.

VCF1962 104F

8/13/2006 7:13 am

Very much so.

I've had a friend for about 8 years who I have supported thru jobs that she hated and listened to her whining about them instead of her accepting my offer to help her look for a new one, she carried on with the job. I supported her when she thought she had Fibromyalgia by sending her books about it and reading about it too so that I had a better idea of how she was feeling (turned out that it wasn't FM at all but a curvature of the spine that was giving her a similar sort of pain in places). We've always been poles apart where men are concerned - she has to practically be moved in/married before she will sleep with someone (past experience that she won't confront or deal with) where as I am a little less clingy !

I had met someone last year that I was telling her about - bear in mind this was about 4 weeks into the relationship with him - and she was asking if I had been to his place, met his friends etc - well he had invited me but at that point I had said no and I don't expect to meet someones friends until I have gotten to know him a little better and when you see someone a couple of times a week, that takes a while. So I'm telling her things and she just says, I'm not listening to this and hangs up. So I was getting defensive - when you stop supporting someone and rip them to shreds, what do you expect ? Anyway, things were never the same after that and when that relationship went wrong, she wondered why I didn't feel I could talk to her about it !

I hardly talk to her at all now, if ever. I want friends that offer mutual support, not ones that pull the rug from under you when you need it most.

Harpo - politics is a very emotive issue as you have found. It sounds as though your strength of feelings toward Bush are like mine towards Blair - I am pretty passionate about the mess that he has made of this country but as long as the people you talk to listen to both sides, then there's no harm done. Surely your friend, as a Christian, will understand this ? It's nothing personal, just your opinion, in the same way that he has an opinion about religion.

Mistress Innuendo
Taking what you say and turning it into something naughty !!

phoenix639 49F

8/13/2006 11:40 am

All i will say on this topic is sometimes friendships arent meant to last.

Harpocrates7 42M

8/13/2006 1:18 pm

Erotica--"Boundaries" was a great word choice--thank you!
Bi--I was probably a little hypocritical in my conversation with my friend. Thank you for reminding me to slow down and think a little more.
Angel--"Respect" was another great word to remember. We did eventually switch the conversation and had a great night.
VCF-Thank you for sharing your story! We do both have strong opinions, and just have to do a little better respecting his perspective.
Nightlady--Sorry to hear about your marriage and friends. Bush--we'll my keyboard is more intelligent than Bush (did I just say that?).
Phoenix--I really do love this friend. I'm going to keep working at it...

champagnechaser 41F
1639 posts
8/13/2006 2:20 pm

You think that Bush is evil and you're agnostic as well? My kinda man

Harpocrates7 42M

8/13/2006 4:21 pm

I knew there was a reason I liked you too, Champagnechaser!

HammyNoxalDiary 62M
5984 posts
8/13/2006 8:02 pm

In real life, I avoid controversial subjects. When they arise, I can usually shift the subject, find something to agree on, shut up, or whatever.

In on-line forums, I'm more brave and feel compelled to point out otherwise unmentioned viewpoints, oppose prejudice, and dispel misinformation - especially if the subject matter is important.

Needless to say, I'm more likable in real life.


8/13/2006 9:18 pm

I have always been very opinionated and passionate about my personal views and beliefs. With experience though I have gained tolerance and the wisdom that the other person probably is as well. Finally I am able to discuss any and every topic with the most passionate of a person. I am comfortable with my belief and comfortable in letting them have theirs. Kisses, MO

just a squirrel trying to get a nut

phoenix639 49F

8/14/2006 8:04 am

OMG...youre eyes....

yes yes yes yes oh fcukin yes

Harpocrates7 42M

8/14/2006 12:15 pm

Dan--I think you're likable here too. Thanks for your insight!

MO--I try, I really do, to be considerate of differing opinions--it's just difficult when mine is correct all the time Thanks for your post.

Huny--you've got it down. You should write a book about easy livin'.

Phoenix--Flattery gets you no where; however, being beautiful and blonde, now you're hitting them over the fence!!!!!

__Huntress__ 55M/57F

8/19/2006 6:51 am

One of the wonders of friendship is that they accept you, whether they agree with you or not ... a true friendship should not suffer because of a difference in opinion ...


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