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General Life Coaching

Mixing Friendship and Politics

Typically, we like to surround ourselves with people who share our beliefs and opinions. However, there are bound to be instances when we do not agree. Such is likely the case with politics and if you are like the vast majority of people, you may find your Facebook wall filled with an array of support these days for one political candidate or another. Although some of the opinions expressed mirror your own, others may be directly contrary to what you feel. And no matter how important the friendship is, you will probably find yourself somewhat irritated when your views are challenged.

politics american flagStill, you are probably not going to change the mind of a friend anymore than he is going to change your way of thinking. Fortunately, there are some ways to handle this situation without ending a friendship.

Follow Mom’s advice

If you grew up with siblings, you probably had your fair share of taunting and teasing. If you are like most of us, whenever you would bring your concerns to your mother, her response was probably to ignore the offensive behavior. This advice is just as good today as it was then. You must ask yourself, “Is it really necessary to spend precious time and energy on this?” If it is not harming you, just ignore it and move on.

Put your settings to use

If you simply cannot ignore the post on your own, technology can help. Facebook and other social networking sites have settings for a reason: if you do not want to see something that has been posted by another user, hide the post. The poster will never know you have hidden their content and you will not have to see it anymore. Problem solved.

Remember why this person is a friend

If the person who is posting things you would rather not see is a close friend or relative, chances are you have known his views for a while and have learned to appreciate him in spite of them. If the poster is a lesser known Facebook “friend,” it may serve you better to simply remove them.

Think before you respond

Remember that everyone is entitled to an opinion and differences keep life interesting. Take a moment to collect your thoughts and calm down. Then, if you still feel compelled to respond to a post remember that the internet is a public forum and your comment will become visible to the masses. Anger can cause a whirlwind of problems, quickly turning a small disagreement into a nasty fight. You may even find yourself in a heated debate with a complete stranger who merely read your response. So, think twice before responding and be prepared for any subsequent reactions.

Take personal responsibility

No one can force you to participate in an argument or discussion. If you do not like the way a situation is affecting you, remove yourself from it. You have the option to simply cease communication regarding the matter or you can leave a final response that tells the other person or people that you feel too much energy has been wasted on the issue and agree to disagree. If the debate continues on without you, so be it. But at least you will no longer be part of it.

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By Corey Quinn

Entrepreneur and online marketing expert

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