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tinyfaery's avatar

Am I too judgmental? How do I keep friends after I find out certain things about them?

Asked by tinyfaery (36125 points ) June 7th, 2011

I have a very hard time finding people I like, let alone friends. When I meet people, I like them at first, and we bond over likenesses, but eventually ugly things come out. Most of the the times these issues surround race (it’s amazing how prejudicial and racist people are. Even so called liberals.) sexuality, politics and social justice in general. I can deal with people of belief, as long as it’s not thrust upon me, and I can deal with people who don’t recycle and have little respect for animals (no abusers), but I cannot deal with such blatant prejudices against any form of otherness. It seems like so many people just don’t value other people, and instead value money and ideology.

Am I too judgmental? Can you associate and call people your friends who hold certain fundamental beliefs that you would/could never tolerate? I’ve never been good at compartmentalizing.

Should I just face the fact I will never have many friends and continue my antisocial ways?

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52 Answers

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
trickface's avatar

I read somewhere, and I’m annoyed I can’t remember the exact quote, but “A good friendship is one without politics” or something.

I sympathise with how you feel but once you stop trying to ‘get’ people and decide if they’re good or bad then things will go smoother. As long they’re not hurting you, there’s no problem.

Your moral compass is just a little too sensitive, I think.

Also, remember if you were in their shoes and experienced everything they have in life, maybe you would feel the same way as them. I think a lot of controversial viewpoints come from upbringing.

Blackberry's avatar

I stopped seeing a woman because her family and her kept one of their dogs in their garage because it chewed on the walls. I was upset that one dog, just because it behaved better initially, got to stay in the house and the other was kept in the garage like it was some hard-to-deal with problem instead of an animal. They barely played with it and argued over who would take it out.

I really liked her, but what was the point of staying with her if I was just going to secretly resent her? If you feel so negatively towards these people, don’t force a lame friendship if it’s not real. I’d rather have one good friend than 5 lame friends. This is just my opinion. I don’t think you’re being too sensitive. If you disliked people that talked too much or something, that would be different, but negative ideals are somewhat intolerable, and I wouldn’t want to be around them either.

Shuichi's avatar

Well this is an interesting topic. I have friends like this but I look past such flaws. Sometimes my friends are racist but they always mess around. However, when they’re serious I usually tell them “It’s not cool” or “don’t be racist” or whatever. Nobodies perfect. I used to be like you for the same reasons but I let my friends know that I don’t like racist jokes or talking about politics and they still do it, just not around me. So I suppose it’s okay to let them know and set a few boundaries while still letting them be themselves around other people. :)

Jeruba's avatar

A friend of mine who is a lesbian and Jewish and as liberal as I am told me yesterday that she has formed a surprising friendship with a woman who is a conservative born-again Christian and a libertarian (and straight). I asked her how she manages it. She said she avoids every sort of argument and instead talks to her in these terms: “How do you see —?” and “What does — mean to you?” As long as they simply exchange perceptions and explore one another’s point of view, without veering into persuasion, they get along fine. My friend said it has been very broadening for both of them.

I’m not sure I could ever be close to someone who had radically different views from mine, but I do think there’s real value in trying to break down some bariiers. Those barriers lead to a great deal of sorrow in the world.

Perhaps if you can quiet the voice that says anyone who disagrees with you is wrong and try to stay open to the idea that contradictory views can both have truth in them, it will be easier to stay on good terms with people who don’t see eye-to-eye with you.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
jonsblond's avatar

I don’t think there is anything wrong with having just a few close friends.

marinelife's avatar

Perhaps you need to pull back more at the beginning. Instead of welcoming people with open arms, perhaps you need to proceed cautiously. Then as you get to know people more and know their viewpoints tentatively deepen the friendship level.

The other possibility is do you make assumptions about people’s beliefs based on a single incident that may have misinterpreted. If you suspect someone harbors racist views, do you try to discuss it with them?

Most people only have a few close friends and other people are acquaintances.

tinyfaery's avatar

I am so closed off in the beginning. Just ask @Jude. Also, I try not to make judgments based on one incident, but when they start to pile-up, I have problems.

@Jeruba I just couldn’t be friends with someone knowing that deep down they don’t believe I should have equal rights or that Mexicans are to blame for all of America’s problems, for example.

Mariah's avatar

If you’re repelled by people because they treat or view others in a way that disgusts you, I think that’s completely justified. But if you’re repelled by their politics that don’t have an impact on the way they treat others, you may want to rethink your view. For instance if you didn’t like that your friend was anti-abortion, or something like that. In that case I would say you’re being a little too selective about finding friends who have the same opinions as you, when it can be nice to have friends who think in a different way, and that their differing views shouldn’t have an effect on the way you coexist as friends.

Facade's avatar

@tinyfaery I’m the same as you, and have no real friends because of it. I think the reasons you mention are justifiable in not wanting to befriend someone. I’m not a fan of lowering standards or settling, so in my opinion, no, you’re not too judgmental.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Nullo's avatar

Accept that there are people in the world who are not you, and instead focus on the things that you have in common. I have to do this, almost all the time; I am a conservative man in a liberal city, a conservative Netizen on a liberal Internet.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
JLeslie's avatar

I get the feeling you have very black and white views of right and wrong. Possibly, I don’t know for sure of course, you are reacting too quickly when someone says something that you find unnacceptable. Maybe it triggers in you feelings of hurt or anger, something very personal. I only say this because many of the people I know like that went through some very sad or difficult times growing up, where they did not feel accepted, and then they sort of mirror the behavior. I am not sure if it is a protective mechanism, to reject someone before they reject or hurt you? (When I say you, I mean the big third oerson you, not necessarily you personally, I am not assuming anything about you) Or, if it is simply, in a bazaar way mimicking the behavior, where someone was very rigid with you, and now you are rigid with others. I have two relatives like this, but, this all might be babble and not relate to a all.

I would not be able to be close friends with someone who was a racist, but among us there have certainly been things said that sound racist. But, I take the time to know them, and ask what exactly they really mean. Maybe you shut down or close off before they even get a chance to explain their intent? Again, this is all guessing.

I also could not be a close friend with someone who steals or constantly lies. We all have our issues that just are unnacceptable.

Even though I feel strongly about gay marriage, a woman’s right to choose, civil rights, immigration, and some other hot button topics, I actually can be friends with people who differ with me on the topics if they are open to debate when the topic comes up, and if they are not hateful about these things. Sometimes they are just limited in their experience. Same with religion, as long as they do not judge me as an athiest and a Jew I don’t care what they believe, as long as they are not tryng to put religion into government or convert me.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Fact from fiction, truth from diction. I have in the past learned things about friends I found troubling, to me, or unsettling. The way I approach it is to separate the action from them as a parson as much as possible. Some people develop prejudices off things that happened to them they never even realize. I have a good friend that hated Hispanics because he was “tagged” while driving twice by illegal immigrants without license or insurance, as a result he didn’t like Hispanics to the point of hating them. I had to remind him sever times while on his I hate Mexicans rants that I have a great niece that is half-Hispanic and a fiancée that is more than a quarter Hispanic.

It is a fine line to differentiate something that developed over situations and occurrences and those that are just there for no reason, or seen reason, at all. I guess you will have to discern for yourself how damaging their attitude is to you and other or from where it originated. You might be able to point out to them what they are doing and how it appears and they will have the opportunity to work on it.

laureth's avatar

One way to avoid losing “friends” over problems like that is to never let the discussions veer into sensitive subjects. Just avoid the big deal topics like racism and politics. Of course, it means that you won’t get very close to them, but if what is important is having a full stable of acquaintances and surface-friends to party or hang out with, that’s a way to get a bevy of them.

Or, you could accept that friends are like a pyramid. Maybe you won’t have a million friends that you can discuss the Deep Things with, but perhaps quality is more important than quantity. I’m like this. I have an outer circle of some folks I can discuss anything with, as long as it’s the weather. Precious few get close, and that’s OK because I’m an introvert like that.

In closing, though, I’d like to point this out. It seem to be other folks’ ideology (or -isms) that turn you off, because they are not accepting of the things you accept. And then, you say , “It seems like so many people just don’t value other people, and instead value money and ideology.” Perhaps if you try to value the person you disagree with, instead of your ideology of tolerance and acceptance, you can be the change you wish to see in the world. :)

tinyfaery's avatar

@laureth ”“It seems like so many people just don’t value other people, and instead value money and ideology.” Perhaps if you try to value the person you disagree with, instead of your ideology of tolerance and acceptance, you can be the change you wish to see in the world. :)” I thought that the second after I wrote it.

I’ve decided on a three strikes your out policy. I have few close friends, but they are true friends. I can do without all the small talk with people who I can barely tolerate.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

@tinyfaery There are some personal characteristics about which you have formed firm opinions based on deeply held personal values. I respect that and would never suggest that you compromise on such values. Other differences between you and potential friends can be accepted and are not “deal-breakers.” Be sure you know which issues are of what kind and then live with the choices and their consequences.

I opt for a few friends whose qualities I respect and admire.

SuperMouse's avatar

While I can and have formed deep friendships with folks with different political viewpoints and different beliefs about certain other issues, there are
absolutely some things that are deal breakers for me. I like to
surround myself with people
who tend to hold dear the same things I do. I am not
interested in getting close to
someone who is willing to hurt others in the name of expediency, political gain, or
profit. Judgmental? Maybe, but I have a hard time seeing how someone so much different would even be interested in having a close friendship with me.

Facade's avatar

@tinyfaery I think we’d get along great =)

BarnacleBill's avatar

Is there something in the way that you meet these people that they have in common? Perhaps the process of how you meet people and select who you want to be friends with has a glitch in it that’s not obvious?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Meh, spare me – I’ve learned that I simply can not be close friends with those who I have to help grow up. I naturally gel well with people who are already on top of activism and social justice issues or at least are bright enough to learn and really get it, you know? Other people are acquaintances and I have hundreds – there are certain things I’m close to some people about and not about others but ALL of my friends will hear it if they say anything homophobic or racist and it WILL become a problem if they think that’s somehow ‘just the way they are’ – fine, be the way you are way the hell away from me. I haven’t felt like I’m lacking in friends though, ever ‘cause I’m good with all kinds of people. And I do think stupid comes in all shapes and forms and from all walks of life. Just like smart does. So I look for smart even if they have no clue what I’m talking about but have a basic ‘do no harm’ policy towards others.

Ajulutsikael's avatar

I can tell you I’m the same way. I was too judgmental and realized that I was nit picking. I have realized that I was preventing some great friendships because of being close minded in a sense. If with my boyfriend, there are political arguments that get me really on edge and I realize that that is one subject we won’t’ always delve into.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

No. You have your own ideals, values and priorities so there’s nothing wrong with wanting true friends (not acquaintances) who also have your top list items in common. With so many people you’ll come in contact with, you’re not to feel inadequate if you don’t like, respect or value them all the same, even if they like everything about you.

wundayatta's avatar

I think it’s hard to be close friends with people who don’t share your values. I’m not sure why anyone would want to do it. I guess if it was a choice between no friends and friends who were fundamentally at odds with you, you might choose the latter, but it would be very difficult to do.

I have never lived in any place where I wasn’t surrounded by people who share my values. So I guess I could have quite a few friends if I were outgoing enough. But I don’t have a lot of friends, and I have lost the few I had from college, so pretty much the only place I can talk openly is here.

If you want friends, and you don’t live in a friendly area—an area conducive to your type of friend then I would lower my standards or move somewhere where your kind of people reside.

JLeslie's avatar

After thinking about this more what I wonder is, do you want more friends? Is that why you ask? I have to assume yes. Maybe get the big issues out of the way first, before even working on a friendship at all. It’s like knowing not to go on a second date with someone when you want to get married and have kids and the other one doesn’t; it’s a deal breaker. Know your deal breakers and get them out of the way fast maybe? There is nothing wrong with wanting to have things in common with your friends, and having some issues you just won’t bend on. In fact I think it is a good thing to seek people you agree with, who have your ideals, because it is obviously very important to you, it is important to most people.

Also, if it is familiar to you to be annoyed and dissappointed with people, you might be recreating it over and over again, creating your comfort zone which is discomfort.

seperate_reality's avatar

I had to realize two important things about people in general. No one is perfect and each one is entitled to their own way of thinking, acting, and how they view life. I try to communicate to understanding and can agree to disagree on many things. I think a true friend is someone who agrees with you more than not. I’m not getting religious here, because Jesus was more spiritual than religious and he even said, he did not come here to judge others. Let someone be who they are. You can reason with someone and it might help the person look at and change something about themselves in a positive way. Also, who does not like to be understood? I know of no one.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Every living creature with a brain is judgmental. The handful of friends that appear devoid of judging other humans may truly do so, or just keep it to themselves, but they make other decisions based upon their judgement. Even the bees now buzzing around a newly blossoming shrub judge whether to give any attention to one bloom or another.

So when does it become too judgmental? Friendships are like a cut gem: they have many facets. If one decides to pass on all gems with the perceived same flaw in one facet, so be it. It is their choice. They may be missing out on the beauty of the other characteristics of this gem, but that is the risk they are willing to take.

I dislike “I draw the line at _____ when it comes to friendship.” That statement defines one as being close-minded. Everyone has their reasons for why they feel the way they do. It doesn’t make them right…they just are what they are today for whatever reason.

What I do know is that by treating those with opposing opinions rudely will not change them. We need to be ambassadors for what we believe. It requires speaking out, being logical, objective, calm and non-offensive. Discussing it privately versus in a public forum can also help.

Plucky's avatar

This is the first thing that popped into mind when reading your question: I call those type of friends my family.

People are people. As informative as our world is, there will be people who do not know any better. It’s not an excuse but a reason to try to understand why they are the way they are. And, maybe even help them understand why you are the way you are. Not everyone will remain a racist (or whatever else) ..some do actually grow up and become better people.

The effort you put into a friendship should be equal to how much you want out of it. Having open honest conversations is important. As @Jeruba said, asking questions like “What does ____ mean to you?” really, I mean really, helps. Many times you will find that the person has a different definition of something than you do.

Examples:
I’m vegetarian and it’s extremely important to me. Most of my friends eat meat. At first, most assume I am a PETA activist or a health nut. But, by answering their questions, I help them understand and appreciate why I am vegetarian. And, vice versa. That type of conversation leads to an understanding before a misunderstanding. It’s not about proving or disproving one another’s opinons/beliefs.
Just as when someone makes a racist remark. My mom, brother and sister often used the term “Paki” to describe someone who looked East Indian. By communicating with them about the term, I found out: My sister wasn’t even aware that the term was offensive. My mom and brother knew it was, but were so accustomed to the term that they never really thought about it. Now, my sister does not use it. I’m working on the other two.
My friend’s fiance calls Asian people “Chink” and said she was not aware it was offensive. This bothered me, so I talked to them. I found out why she used the term – it had a lot to do with the community she grew up in. She is now trying to stop using the term.

We are human, we make mistakes. We aren’t always clear when saying something. Being a friend means trying to understand one another ..and limit the availability of misinterpretation.

I am not saying you should lower your standards. You should not have to do that. Instead, maybe try to lower (or slow down) your criticism until you understand what exactly it is that the person believes. If you really want to make more friends, you may need to be a bit more open and accepting of small differences in values/beliefs. With friends, there should be much more to love than to dislike about them (in my opinion).

Obviously, there are exceptions to everything. I would most likely not be friends with someone who was an outright racist (like people who are scared to touch someone of another race, or think that certain races are inferior ..etc.). Those type of people cause me to build my walls even higher. But…that is almost always after I try to understand why they think how they do. I can not walk away without at least trying to communicate (unless they are violent or irrate).

augustlan's avatar

I think it’s hard to be real friends with people who think things that are abhorrent to you. The older I get, the harder it is for me to even maintain a long-standing friendship with people I’m at serious odds with in one area or another.

One of my oldest and very best friends is racist to an extent (Like, she wouldn’t actively discriminate against a black man, but god forbid her white daughter wanted to date one), and it bothers me more and more as time goes on. I’ve talked to her about that and several similar issues many times, and I like to think it’s made her more self-aware. At least now she knows it’s really not cool to feel that way, and may even be able to fight against her knee-jerk reactions at some point. I think if I met her now, I might not be able to be friends with her at this point in my life. After 20 years, we have so much shared history and love between us that I’m able to continue to be her friend, but I’ve noticed I’m pulling away a bit. It seems like as we get older, she gets more conservative and I get more liberal. Sigh.

If you’re actively trying to make new friends, maybe it would help if you did it by joining some groups that seem like a good fit for your ideals. You wouldn’t get 100% overlap, but you’d probably have a better shot at getting close to it. Meantime, there’s always us. <3

laureth's avatar

I’m seeing folks here talk about how hard it is to be friends with people who hold views that you just can’t agree with. But some people, bless ‘em, can. I think the key in those circumstances is that the person is looked at, instead of the view. There are certain beliefs that might make someone “not a good person,” but I think they might be fewer in number than we realize. Perhaps they’re just good people with different beliefs.

Leanne1986's avatar

I consider myself judgmental and there are certain people that I avoid, despite them being perfectly nice people, due to being uncomfortable with their values or beliefs (for example, I know a person who acts so incredibly racist to the point where he even said that his friends could bring a “plus one” to his wedding providing the person wasn’t of a certain race – he claimed to be joking but I have reason to believe that he wasn’t). The way I see it, if I am willing to write people off because I find something about their personality unattractive then I should be willing for other people to do the same to me. I try not to have an unattractive personality but we can’t all agree.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@laureth I don’t know if I agree with that. People’s beliefs are part, to me, of what makes them a good person. If their beliefs is to not let gay people marry, that is where you get me because they may be a good person to straight people but aren’t to the LGBT community. If their belifs is to support hazing, say in a firehouse or in a fraternity, then they may be a good person to people who fit some notion of masculinity but not to those boys who they will support being beaten up in an ally. And so forth. If I have to search for a kernel of good amidst all the objectionable beliefs, are they good? Or is it about how MUCH good they have to have?

tinyfaery's avatar

Thanks, all. I’m not really looking to make new friends, i just want to like to people I happen to meet.

seperate_reality's avatar

I think we each have our own negative type thoughts sometimes, be it bias, or, whatever, but we also have the ability to be analytical too. I might get a negative thought about a certain race, political affiliation, etc, but I can see it for what it is and do not have to agree with this nonsense that just came to me. I have met my share of people who don’t even bother to reason and be analytical about certain issues. “It’s good enough for Dad, so it works for me” is a total cop-out. Reasoning ability sets human beings apart from animals.

JLeslie's avatar

@tinyfaery Do you think you dwell on the differences? I was talking to this guy the other day in my water aerobics class. We were having an interesting conversation about investing, and then about where we have lived. When I said I grew up in Maryland he said the problem with that state is too many liberals. I said, “well, I am generally pretty liberal so that fits me just fine, I have problems here with so many conservatives.” We just moved on from there to another topic. This guy is not going to be a friend of mine, but I find some of his knowledge very interesing, enjoy seeing him in class. If that had been you do you think the conversation would have shut down right there? He is conservative so now you have no patience for him?

I am not judging it, just wondering.

I remember once you were very upset with me because I was saying something about generalizing about my Mexican inlaws, and you seemed wholly offended. Accused me of assuming all Mexican are migrant workers in fields or something like that, when I was discussing how they seem to view dissagreements and apologies, and I was trying to figure out how they thought about the whole thing different than I do. I felt like your antenna was up to hate anyone who might have a prejudice against Mexicans, and you jumped to disgust and anger. Maybe I misperceived your tone in your reponses, and, probably I was sloppy about how I wrote my answers, maybe not careful enough to watch out for offendng people, but it goes to what @PluckyDog described so well.

MissAnthrope's avatar

I feel like a lot has already been said and I don’t want to offer any repeats. I will say, though, that… well.. fuck ‘em. If people have offensive views, you don’t have to like them. So, maybe I’m overly judgmental, too, but you know what? I am so sensitive that I have to put up a wall to block out at least some of the crap. After that, I am very selective about the people I spend time with and whether or how much I let them in.

I believe that everyone deserves 100% civility and respect upon our first meeting, but that can quickly get subtracted away as they open their mouth or do something I consider offensive. Frankly, I have given so much leeway to people over the years that I’m finding my patience is waning over time. So, as soon as I realize that someone has bigoted views, or mistreats their pets, or other people, or whatever.. I begin the process of pushing them away.

I simply do not wish to associate with that kind of person. I also know that there are amazing, good, kind, compassionate, and wonderful people out there, if I have the self-worth and the confidence to wait for them.

tinyfaery's avatar

@JLeslie What usually happens is I meet someone new. We spend time and get to know each other’s likes and dislikes, then out of nowhere, this person will say or do something that I find completely objectionable. After that, I completely pull back. All that I might have liked is overshadowed by this one, HUGE thing.

JLeslie's avatar

@tinyfaery As long as you are not bothered by it, I would not worry about it. Meaning, if you think that big thing is reason to not talk to them anymore, then you are entitled to value or judge that thing as very important. If you feel like it is causing you distress, and you want to work on not letting things like that not overshadow a previously good relationship, that is a different thing. But, your question is really not about how to not let things like this not bother you so much, so I don’t perceive you want to change how you are. Which is fine.

The people in my family who I mentioned, I think they twist themselves in knots hating and being dissappointed by people. I feel like they wait to be able to hate people, like they want to. I feel like they would be feel calmer and better if they could reframe some things, try to understand other people’s positions and persepective. They insist they want people to not dissappoint them, but if feels very different to me from the outside. Yet, I do believe them, I do believe they at a conscious level want to like people. It’s complicated and may not apply to you at all.

But, I also believe it is fine to try and eliminate crazy shit from life, including people who have negative energy, or seem to have a fatal flaw from our own perspective.

So, I think only you know if you are too judgemental. If your are more judgmental than you want to be. If you think it is having a negative impact on your life? If all is good, and you are happy, then I wouldn’t worry about it too much.

JLeslie's avatar

My dad accuses my mom of being too judgmental. You do one thing she doesn’t like and your out. But, she doesn’t give a shit that my dad thinks she is too judgement, she thinks he is needy and will hang onto any relationship, and tolerate horrible behavior.

laureth's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir – I feel what you’re saying, I really do. The way I got around feeling that way (which may work only for me) is by putting myself in the other person’s shoes and looking at myself from their eyes. If “Suzy” really does think that gay people are evil, that they choose to love their own gender against God’s will, and ought not be allowed to marry because that would Be Bad, then “Suzy” would think that I am a bad person. She would think that I should change my ways, or that I am headed to hell. “Suzy” may feel unable, herself, to be my friend because my ways and beliefs are so very different from her own.

However, I know that I am not a bad person. I know that my ways, in the context of my life, are peachy keen. I’m not the monster that “Suzy” thinks I am, because “Suzy” just doesn’t look at things the same way I do. And I bet that similarly, “Suzy” doesn’t feel herself to be the same monster that I think she is. She’s just trying to live her life in a way that makes sense to her, the same way that I am, and coming to a different conclusion based on her own life experiences and teachings. It’s easy to believe that someone who is against gay marriage(or who doesn’t understand your view of gender) would just as easily bite the heads off of kittens, but I’m willing to believe that “Suzy” doesn’t do that. She wants the best for gay people, which (in her world) is… different from mine.

It does make it a challenge to get along with “Suzy,” but perhaps “Suzy” doesn’t know any actual gay people. I bet if “Suzy” got to know me, she’d realize that her worst fears about them (maybe that they bite the heads off of kittens?) just aren’t true. If “Suzy” knew me, she’d see that gay-friendly people have much the same hopes and dreams as she does – to live in a world where our kids go to good schools, drink clean water, and can marry the person they fall in love with. She might even – maybe – change (just the slightest bit) from getting to know me, so (to be a good representative for people like me), I should get to know “Suzy.”

I’ve befriended at least one die-hard Christian that way. He finally realized that I’m not going to hell, that God loves people like me too, and that while his faith in Jesus is intact, he thinks that perhaps even atheists have a moral outlook, and gay people love each other just like he loves his wife – and if he couldn’t marry his wife, he’d be sad, and understands why I’m sad about gay people being unable to marry. From my side, my friendship with him reminds me that not all Christians are totally judgmental, that they can learn to see people like me as being real, and that speaks well for other Christians. It’s been win-win for both of us.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@JLeslie ….I was sloppy about how I wrote my answers, maybe not careful enough to watch out for offending people.. Sometimes I feel we butt head like two rams on a hill side but here I have to have your back. Trying to make dozens of people happy, much less thousands, tens of thousands or millions happy you have to say it the best straight out way you can say it and if they want to get their panties in t bunch because they don’t like the fact you didn’t water it down or they misinterpret what you said. Of course being that real puts you at risk of not getting to your 30k until it is foreclosure with knee deep dust, more cob weds than a haunted house, and raccoons nesting in the attic but you will have been you. Just say it the way you best say it, if you spend all your time trying to find the right words and phrases for the masses your voice might just get lost in the tinkling of cymbals.

BarnacleBill's avatar

What usually happens is I meet someone new. We spend time and get to know each other’s likes and dislikes, then out of nowhere, this person will say or do something that I find completely objectionable. After that, I completely pull back. All that I might have liked is overshadowed by this one, HUGE thing.

Maybe the answer lies in contemplating this from the other side, from the other person’s possible perspective…

“I met this really great and interesting person. We spent a lot of time together and got to know each other’s likes and dislikes, and then, out of nowhere, they dropped me like a hot potato. I have no idea what I said or did, but I get the feeling that I didn’t measure up to something that I didn’t know I was supposed to measure up to.”

When you go into a relationship with someone, you have to be aware that everyone has biases against other people. Even you. From what you’ve said, you’re intolerant of people who you deem intolerant. People’s actions towards others are often more important than their words. Words hurt, but actions are mortal wounds.

JLeslie's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central It just depends on the audience. @tinyfaery is basically admitting she shuts down when she discovers a certain thing or opinion someone holds. So, probably np matter how I word it, if it triggers something for her that she has zero tolerance for, you’re out. Although, she will get angry enough, or annoyed enough to fight back a little, which gives the person time to clarify, which is good. Not everyone does that.

I am not easily offended. So, sometimes it is difficult for me to understand why others are so sensitive.

I see it on facebook so often, boom, defriended. Some discussion about politics or religion, and if you are too far opposite on one side, no longer friends. My own sister says people should only agree with your status on facebook, because facebook is for fun. She has her rules in her mind about what is appropriate and you better not fucking break them, better not embarrass her in front of her liberal friends, she would never want them to think she is associated with anyone who might have a differing opinion.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

More power to you @laureth – I simply, as I said before, don’t have the energy to be the person to teach everyone else, to be their ‘exposure’. I get enough of that sensation from Fluther and it wears one out.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@tinyfaery I am like you. It is becoming more difficult as I age to tolerate the ignorance or lack of personal responsibility from “friends”.

To me, it’s become a matter of balance. Do I need this friendship to last if he/she believes this or is rude like this or is uneducated about that? Sometimes I can overlook whatever it is, but many times I just don’t see the point of the effort.

QueenOfNowhere's avatar

You have to learn how to be kind to people you can’t deal with, hun. Not everyone is living in your perfect world that you want the world to be like. I wish, but nope. so you have to respect those who don’t, and try to find friends who are alike you in those situations. Or maybe just paint yourself.

Response moderated
Jeruba's avatar

@tinyfaery, I’ve thought quite a bit about this question since you posted it. I stand by my original response, but your additional comments have given me a bit more to think about. You wrote (in separate posts):

I just couldn’t be friends with someone knowing that deep down they don’t believe I should have equal rights or that Mexicans are to blame for all of America’s problems, for example.

I’m not really looking to make new friends, i just want to like to people I happen to meet.

What usually happens is I meet someone new. We spend time and get to know each other’s likes and dislikes, then out of nowhere, this person will say or do something that I find completely objectionable. After that, I completely pull back. All that I might have liked is overshadowed by this one, HUGE thing.

Your original question says: Am I too judgmental? How do I keep friends after I find out certain things about them?

I think I see two contradictions here, or if not actual contradictions, at least two things that are working against your intentions.

One is that you seem to be drawing conclusions about what people feel deep down before you actually know them very well. Some little thing that they say or do tells you what they truly feel deep down. I’m not sure a person can always make fair judgments based on some chance remark or random action. Perhaps it doesn’t mean what you think it does. Is there any room for misinterpretation? (I grant you, sometimes there is not. Certain kinds of behavior leave no room for doubt whatsoever.) Do you investigate further? Do you give a person more than one chance? If not, then I would say you might be forming snap judgments and possibly doing them an injustice.

But as to whether that’s wrong or not—that I can’t say. The way you feel is the way you feel. The only thing that might be wrong about it is if it causes results for you that you don’t really want.

And that brings me to the second point. If the person does in fact feel as it appears to you (e.g., they have an attitude toward lesbians or Mexicans or women or whatever that you can’t tolerate), do you want to stay friends with them? It seems to me that you don’t; rather, you want them to feel differently. “How do I keep friends after I find out certain things about them?” I don’t think you can. I think what you’re really saying is not “How do I keep friends?” but “I don’t want people I like to have attitudes that I disapprove of.” And you have every right to feel that. BUT they have a right to the attitudes. You can’t change them. So—no, you’re not wrong, and you’re not too judgmental if your judgment actually gets you the results you want—namely, staying away from people whose views you can’t stand.

Still, I see how this can bring about disappointing experiences, where you’ve made an emotional investment and then felt let down; and that, I think, is what this is about.

So I think there’s a different question behind the question. Perhaps it’s this: “How do I recognize potential friends whose true feelings are compatible with mine (or know they’re incompatible right from the outset)?” Or maybe “How could I even begin to like people who are going to turn out to have those prejudices? (Could people who have those prejuduces actually be likable in some way?)” And those are different questions entirely.

CWOTUS's avatar

Hmm… I wonder why I missed this question when it first came up (or if an earlier answer was modded off).

My short answer to this, after reading some really good ones, is that you “like” a person in totality, but maybe not in every facet. By that I mean you like a whole person, who may have aspects, beliefs, attitudes and even history that you feel on a spectrum of “I love this” to “I don’t care about this” to “I am repulsed by this”. And unless you have some kind of weighting spreadsheet and the kind of personality who attempts to analyze everything to a fare-thee-well, you get a “feel” for when the person’s attributes and beliefs have reached a tipping point of “I do not care for this person” or further to “I hate this person” (or on the positive side, “I love this person”). Some people even make snap decisions, sometimes based on very little information (even a rude hand gesture, for example) that carries enough weight that they make the instant decision that “I must kill this person”.

I think this all has to be part of the “examined life” that one hopes one is leading, so that you know what’s most important to you and make the important judgments first (“well, he loves my daughter and she’s happy with him, so everything else is forgiven or overlooked”, for example).

And the other part of that is that I can be “civil”, even with people I detest for various reasons, as long as they aren’t directly (and currently, and physically) attacking me or someone else (regardless of my feelings for the attacked person).

But mostly I try to refrain from quick judgments either way: I try not to “fall in like” with someone I have just met, and I also try to avoid instantly hating people who flip me the bird in traffic.

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