Nothing ignites passionate opinions like a presidential election. If you’ve even glanced at Facebook in the past weeks, you’ve seen the flagrant pushing of preference by at least a portion of your friends. Or, maybe you’re the one who’s pushing your views. Of course, you’d never do this if you didn’t know you were doing your friends a service, right? Well, let’s take a quick look at the issue from a neutral point of view.
Everyone has an opinion, but they also have a past. How the world is seen comes to each person through their own very unique filters. These filters are a product of life experiences. No matter how well-written a Facebook status is, it will never change the reader’s past. The same is true with face-to-face conversations. Trying to push a candidate on another person without taking into account why they disagree is a waste of time. And who has time to waste?
Opinions grow slowly, so the changing of opinions will not happen overnight. Don’t expect your friends to drop their allegiance with a particular candidate of political stance the moment you bring up an opposing view, no matter how well thought out. If it’s truly important to you, present your thoughts, then move on.
No one changes their mind because they’re bullied into a new way of thinking. If someone says you’re an idiot because of your views, does that make you jump to their side? Would you suddenly love canned spinach if a friend tied you down and forced you to eat it? Think of shoving your political views at your friends like forcing them to eat the spinach. They won’t receive what you’re offering them with an open mind. Even chocolate wouldn’t be appreciated under force.
When your friends share their views, you don’t have to comment. Whether in person or online, learn when to let the conversation die. Not everything shared needs to be refuted. Sometimes it’s appropriate to just let it go.
Arguments can quickly become heated, especially on social media. There is an illusion when posting online that makes people feel freer to be rude. Before you post that comment, think about it. Would you say that to your friend in person, with all of your other friends watching? And if you would, do you think that makes you a good friend?
Above all else, remember that relationships should be valued. The people you share your life with are there for a reason. Most of them are part of your life because at one time or another you had something in common. Focus on the good in others. In the end, their friendship should mean more than their vote.