Social Question

jonsblond's avatar

How can I politely fight fire with fire with my Obama hating best friend?

Asked by jonsblond (38527 points ) January 16th, 2013

Each day my good friend posts nonsense about Obama on Facebook. I’m not Obama’s biggest fan, but some of this stuff that’s posted is full of misinformation. It’s ridiculous.

I don’t want to debate her and I don’t want to remove her from my news feed completely. I was thinking of posting pictures of the children who died in Connecticut each time she complains about gun control. Any other suggestions?

I know, I could ignore her, but that’s no fun. ;)

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36 Answers

glacial's avatar

I’m not crazy about the idea of posting those pictures… my approach would be to respond with simple, factual statements. Don’t get drawn into tit-for-tats, just say the one thing and stop following the comment if possible. I think people who post the truly nutty anti-Obama stuff are not going to be convinced with reason, so my tactic is generally to show that theirs is not the only opinion and leave it at that. If you just want to yank her chain, there will almost always be an opposing 4-chanesque poster to be found for any statement, but the risk is that it will make her just that much more hostile to people she already disagrees with.

KNOWITALL's avatar

If it’s a good friend, in all seriousness, I would let it go.

I have friends and family that I disagree with and this political season was difficult, but I want to keep the friendships, and in another few years, someone else will be President, so what’s the point.

Fluther is a great place to discuss these kinds of issues and get it out of your system, and since we’re all strangers, it’s a little less intrusive in your every day life.

emilianate's avatar

It depends on the person. I posted pictures of aborted babies to some of my pro-choice friends. It pissed them off pretty good. I also point out the hypocrisy in being pro-choice and anti-gun at the same time, but that’s not going to work on your side of the argument.

ragingloli's avatar

If you can, you could post pictures of the children that were stabbed in china at the same time the american shooting happened.
They all survived.

tom_g's avatar

You could approach it a few ways:
1. Provide facts and reason, and prepare for a response of more misinformation and crazy.
2. Use this as an opportunity to practice compassion and acceptance. You could even start a metta meditation practice and work up to this person.
3. You could do the obvious.
4. You could pretend to support her arguments. Jump in on the thread and argue her points for her. Use her logic – not yours – and make sure you word it in a way that removes the mess. Sometimes people will have an easier time discovering the error in their thinking when some of the details are changed or when it’s re-worded (think of the ubiquitous loathing of middle east theocracy among US citizens who advocate for theocracy).

rojo's avatar

You can’t. You both have your own belief set and, just as she cannot convince you, you will not convince her. So why waste your time and temper.

I have a friend who is also on FB who has just gone overboard with his antiguncontrol posts. I can let anyone vent but when you are sending out 10+ a day all on the same subject you lose my interest as well as my sympathy and get blocked. When he calms down, I will unblock again.

marinelife's avatar

If you don’t want to debate her, then why not remove her from your news feed. Or ask her only to post personal notes not political ones. You won’t change her.

rojo's avatar

Remember, as Robert Heinlein said:

“Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes time, and annoys the pig”

ninjacolin's avatar

Honest approach: “I’ve had my share of debates on these topics, Philis (or whatever her name is) so I’m not gonna have another one now, but you should know that I think you’re way off at least half the time. Love you, bye!”

jonsblond's avatar

There will be no blocking or unfriending because this happens to be my best friend of 34 years. We met in second grade and she is considered family to me. My mom, husband and one of my sisters are also friends with her on fb. Her postings are very recent and she’s never been this vocal about politics before. I know her well and I really think a lot of this is her husband’s influence.

I’m really not angered by this or have a huge problem with it. I just thought I’d play with her a little. I know I won’t change her. I was just hoping for some playful suggestions. If I was terribly bothered about this subject I would have asked in General. =)

rojo's avatar

Go the newsfeed block route, I don’t think she will even know and you will maintain your sanity, you can set it to several different levels to allow certain things through.

mazingerz88's avatar

To politely fight fire with fire, whatever you say, just add please or pardon me first. “Pardon Me, But Your Teeth Are In My Neck!”

josie's avatar

I can only relate to my personal experience. I am an Obama hater. I have long and loving friends who love the guy. We either talk about something else, or make sure we have a smile on our face when we disagree. Usually, we talk about something else.
FYI I use the term Obama Hater to label my position in your conflict. I really don’t hate the guy. I just don’t think much of him as President of the US.

ucme's avatar

“Playful suggestions.” You rang? ;-}
I’d just yell…“four more years, four more years!! ”
Repeat until her ears bleed.

Pachy's avatar

I agree with @rojo. A waste of your time and energy to try to change her beliefs—and if you value the friendship, don’t even try. But who knows, over time the two of you may modify each other’s positions.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

Just take out your semi-automatic weapon and force her to agree with you. Isn’t that speaking the language of Obama-haters?

Love and peace from an Obama-lover,
Lori

KNOWITALL's avatar

@ucme Great answer, that would drive me NUTS!

Sunny2's avatar

Ignore the subject. Don’t be drawn into discussion, ever. Change the subject to anything at all except that. Should I make a vanilla or lemon filling for a chocolate cake? Do you like polka dots or plaid better? Your friend will get the idea.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I guess just try to be humorous, whatever you say. I’m in the “firmly dislike Obama” camp, so my friends on the opposing side and I generally avoid the subject. I occasionally post political things on FB, usually the ones that just make me laugh, but I try to not pepper my wall with them. It’s annoying.

I too have several friends who really seem to hate him and they post a minimum of 10 anti-Obama pictures or truly offensive anti-Obama rants per day. Per. Frigging. Day. UGH!

I’ve had to just start ignoring it, or leaving silly comments on those threads.

jonsblond's avatar

@Sunny2 I have ignored the subject so far. I don’t like to debate on Facebook. There was one post this weekend my husband couldn’t ignore, so he stated some facts. My friend’s husband then started ranting debating with my husband. He gave a long response to my husband, called him an Obamabot, (yeah. if you know my husband, this is funny. teehee) then blocked my husband. He also blocked another long time mutual friend who was debating. I couldn’t believe how immature her husband was being. My best friend and I exchanged nice texts after this and not one word was mentioned about our husbands or politics. We still love each other, we just can’t get our husbands together for lunch. :)

jerv's avatar

Experience has shown me that there is no way, polite or otherwise, to deal with that sort of person, except to turn a blind eye to their blatant ignorance.

submariner's avatar

You can set your feed to show you “only important” posts from her. Pick a post you don’t like, click the x in the corner to delete it, and choose from the options that come up.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Sometimes you simply can’t fight this fire. Facts don’t change people’s minds. If they did, we’d be more concerned about the right things.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

Sex, religion, and politics are the triumverate of volatile conversation. None should be discussed in the workplace, and some friendships need to exclude one or more. I have friends who go beserk when they talk about politics, so the subject’s better avoided.

Bellatrix's avatar

You are in ‘arguing on the internet’ territory. You can say anything you want but if she has firm beliefs, your comments won’t change them. The most that is likely to happen is you end up in an argument and lose a friendship. If the friendship doesn’t matter to you, and the point does, go for it.

glacial's avatar

If you decide to go the graphic route, here is one you might appreciate.

jerv's avatar

@glacial Compare those deaths to deaths from other causes and you will see that banning cars, tobacco, fast food, or sugar would save far more lives than any sort of gun control. And if recent stats from Chicago are any indication, the best you could hope for with the graphic you showed is being called on a blatant logical fallacy; I can see at least three on this list that apply.

Accordingly, I advise against that as it won’t work even against sane, rational people except those seeking confirmation of their own preconceived notions, so it will definitely fail against anybody who is either irrational, and/or holds diametrically opposing views.

glacial's avatar

@jerv “those seeking confirmation of their own preconceived notions”

Yes, I’ve heard of those people.

jerv's avatar

@glacial…and many fall into that category, especially the types that feel the need to flood FB newsfeeds with political propaganda that is easily dismissed by anybody with two brain cells and half a clue.

Kraigmo's avatar

Is there such a thing as an Obama hater who does NOT watch Fox News or listen to ClearChannel/Salem Radio (or the internet version of such people, who all read Newsmax)?

As for your Facebook, subscribe to group Against Crony Capitalism. When they send you a pertinent article in your feed, post it on your Facebook page. Also consider subscribing to Americans for Forfeiture Reform. He won’t be able to cognitively disagree with them, and yet his precious party is the most guilty of all things they mention. Your friend is a personality worshipper. He hates Obama and loves whoever the anti-Obama is. Your task is to get him to separate his true ideas, from his hero worship and his need to belong in a Group, which lowers the level of his intellect to GroupThink.

jonsblond's avatar

My best friend just fell for the Bill Cosby I’m 83 and tired rant and posted it on Facebook. I had to call her out nicely on that one. I told her she was being silly. Cosby was born in 1937. I guess the worst thing that can happen would be her husband blocking me. The best thing that can happen is she’ll learn to check the accuracy of the things she posts. Either way, she’s still my best bud.

DWW25921's avatar

I’m a registered Independent so I may have some insight not yet shared. As far as Republocrats go, I really have no love for either side. I do believe Obama is useless however I didn’t vote for Bush either. They are both empty suits I have nothing to do with and no love for. What I do have love for are Americans as a whole and our right to be the judges of our leaders.

With that being said, consider that being an American is indeed more important than your political party. People voting their conscience is what makes this country great and accepting the opinions and even ignorance of others is part of our culture. I have friends on both sides and I think they’re all dead wrong! I love them anyway.

Sometimes it’s best to accept people regardless of the propaganda they’re filled with.

jerv's avatar

@DWW25921 Good perspective. Sadly , it seems that those who follow political parties tend to believe that their ideology is America, and the actual nation we live in is not. In other words, you are not “American” unless you go along with the official party line.

DWW25921's avatar

@jerv Too true. For the sake of optimism I really wish I could argue that point. But I can’t. Neither side of the isle has don’t enough to promote patriotism. I think if they did there may be more of a positive perspective on things.

jerv's avatar

@DWW25921 The Tea Party Republicans have done plenty to promote patriotism. Of course, you must be white, male, Christian, Conservative, xenophobic, intolerant, and English-speaking to be American…

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