Wednesday, February 3, 2016


The other day, someone had posted on FB, "If you're voting for _____, then just unfriend me right now." And it really bothered me. Not about the statement (I actually agreed with them, that that candidate would be a terrible choice for the nation and world), but the blanket statement of, "If you don't agree with me on this point, we can't be friends."

And I think it's a fairly common thing for people to say, "....just unfriend me" and it drives me bonkers. Because I love relationships. I love talking to people, I love hearing different views, I love sharing my thoughts and hearing other thoughts, and digging into it.

As much as I love it, I have found most people don't love it. And so what happens in so many of my conversations is I just listen quietly and don't share anything and don't gain any knowledge, because people oftentimes want to tell (sometimes yell) their opinion and because they're so passionate about it. It's too hard for me to listen when the tone is, "I'm right, no matter what you say/do I believe this 100% and you're stupid if you don't" (Intentional tone or not.) I hear it, I give them the validation, but I don't get a chance to listen, question, or engage in conversation.

Because of that, I get stuck even longer on topics or ideas or thoughts, because I don't have that many people to really grapple with. I only have two identified persons who I can say I actually trust to discuss hard topics with and trust that I won't be judged, I won't be "unfriended", I won't be yelled at. Whom I trust to not tell someone else, "Oh my gosh, let me tell you what Ashley said". Who we can have differing opinions, even about "heated topics" and I know neither of us will yell or loudly talk at the other, neither of us will demean the other, neither of us will walk away from the conversation feeling like we don't matter, or fearing the other person will think less of us.

Maybe you have more than two friends like that, in which case, that's awesome! Maybe you don't actually have any friends like that. Maybe it turns out all your friends agree with you, so you're not really sure what it would be like to have a different opinion or to question something. I'd like to have more friends like that. Although, as quoted from Freaks and Geeks, "I already have two friends, how many more does a guy need?"

For me, up until I was in mid/late-high school, all of my relationships were "surface level". I didn't even realize it until I experienced real relationships. Where I started to have friends like above--who I felt safe with and who I felt like I could say, "I believe this, what do you think?" "I am really confused about this, can you help?" And they wouldn't just give me their opinion or tell me, "Do what you want, it's your life". Rather, they would walk me through it, take the time to understand me, and push me into vulnerability and provide a strong enough safety net.

I believe in friendships. Real friendships. I think they're worth investing in and I think it's important to have people who we can feel safe with and important for us to be the type of friend who others feel safe talking to.

From my journal, 1/23/16 (which I wrote as 1/23/15)

I want to make life better for people. I want people to like knowing me and enjoy my company. I want to inspire people to make good choices and take responsibility for their actions. I don't want to "unfriend" people because we disagree. People are beautiful and I want more truly beautiful people in my life. 

And if you want to unfriend me...please don't. I really want to be your friend. 

No comments:

Post a Comment