General Question

kheredia's avatar

Can two people who have very different political views be good friends?

Asked by kheredia (5535 points ) September 4th, 2010

If so, do you think they should discuss their political views or just leave that discussion out of their friendship?

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26 Answers

Seaofclouds's avatar

It really depends on the people and how much their views shape who they are. If they are both capable of having discussions about politics without taking it personal, there’s no reason why they can’t be friends and even discuss politics. If they aren’t capable of having a conversation without taking it personal, they should avoid political conversations.

Seek's avatar

My dearest friend is my religious and political opposite.

We do occasionally discuss politics – health care, taxes, etc. The funny thing is, even though she has a master’s degree in Political Science and claims to be a Republican, the things she feels most adamant about are very liberal stances (public breastfeeding, delayed vaccination, providing health care to children, etc.). She actually feels bad about vocally supporting Republican agenda while applying for her homebuyer’s tax credit, and having her pregnancy supported by Medicaid. I may be getting through to her. ^_^

She considers my atheism as more a curiosity (You mean you never pray? or even ask… I dunno… the universe for help?) than a debating point.

We made a point early in our friendship to get our “beliefs” out of the way. We both believe the world would be a very boring place indeed if everyone preferred Vanilla to Chocolate, so while neither of us would hide our thoughts, we wouldn’t attack the other for those thoughts, either.

Blackberry's avatar

I was good friends (he moved away) with a conservative republican, but we also had that we were atheists in common. If he was religious we probably wouldn’t have been friends. We argued occasionally about politics (he hates Obama and illegal aliens with a passion lol) and stuff; we never came to an agreement on things but we were mature enough to understand that we just didn’t agree.

boffin's avatar

Just agree to disagree. . .

Kayak8's avatar

My aunt is very conservative and I am more liberal. We disagree on most political things, but we agree on just about everything else. We get on famously.

Coloma's avatar

Yes, it is possible as long as one or the other is not invested in changing the others opinions or making them wrong, allowing egos need to be right to color the balance in the relationship.

If there is any disapproving or minimizing of the other as a person based on their beliefs, time to pull anchor on the relationship as it is sailing into unhealthy waters.

Disc2021's avatar

If I can make good friends with an ex hardcore racist, anything is possible.

At some point you just have to put your ideals aside and realize that we’re all people floating on the same rock.

JLeslie's avatar

Yes. Now if you ask me if they can be married, that is more tricky.

muppetish's avatar

If it weren’t possible, I probably would not have had friends growing up.

The only time this has become an issue for me, is when they want to talk politics all the time. I lost a friend who was really pushing the Proposition 8 issue with me even though he knew how it personally affected me. We had a pretty big fight over it and stopped speaking (he has since then, attempted to rekindle our friendship several times. I’m always open for a chat with him, but I still feel really hurt.)

Another friend was completely defined by her religion. I didn’t want to butt heads with her, but things got awkward fast. We aren’t on speaking terms now.

I can get along swimmingly with just about everyone else I know with different viewpoints (and I know a colourful spectrum of people.) There’s more to people than politics. Those are the aspects I’m interested in, anyway.

TexasDude's avatar

Oh yeah. I know for a fact that it’s possible, because I am politically different from nearly every person I know. I am more of a “lowercase L” libertarian/classical liberal and nearly all of my friends are of the Big-D Democrat liberal vein, while a few Republicans and trust fund anarchists thrown in for flavor. My two best friends are actually arch-Democrats. One of them even has John Kerry on speed dial, and that’s not hyperbole.

We get along well because, for one, I’m not uber-passionate about politics and there are few issues that I take a hardline stance on. Dealing with social political issues, we all pretty much agree anyway. It’s mainly economic issues where we differ, and those don’t ever come up because my friends aren’t as interested or well versed in economic theory as I am.

Concerning the religious aspect that has been ingrained into politics, we are all pretty diverse as well, but it’s never been an issue. I’m more of an agnostic, as are a few of my friends, one of my arch-Democrat friends is a hardcore Methodist and the other is a straight up atheist. Most of my Republican friends are either agnostic or soft-Protestants, though one is very religious (though he leans libertarian) and another is an atheist (and also leans neoconservative.) We all discuss religion often and it never turns into a shouting match. We all are genuinely interested in each other views… maybe it’s because most of my friends are philosophy and religion majors…

Cruiser's avatar

With out question and it certainly helps that one or both at least put forth effort to be opened minded and be knowledgeable on the issues at hand. I always keep a cream pie on hand just in case though!

Jabe73's avatar

Yes. As long as we avoid political and religious topics. Sometimes it’s impossible to avoid these issues with each other (like at election time) but we’re still friends through it.

Whitsoxdude's avatar

All of my friends are Atheist Democrats, while I am a… I guess you could call it Libertarian? I don’t know..
Anyway, they are all Atheists with separate political views than me, and I’m Catholic.
It’s kinda strange actually. I don’t get along with most religious kids.

Coloma's avatar

I defy categories.

A party of one. haha

An apolitical liberal spiritualist. lol

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

You can have a good friendship with anyone with whom you share numerous common interests and activities if you can keep your differences out of most of your discussions and comments most of the time. If one or both of you put a political or religious spin on many or most things, your friendship will be very stressful and full of conflict. You have to weigh the pros and cons for you and decide if it works for you.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Of course. What does politics have to do with friendship?

GeorgeGee's avatar

It depends on one thing: Respect. If you assume someone is stupid for not agreeing with you, you are not respecting them and you cannot be friends. “Friends” who try to change their friends beliefs are also being disrespectful.
I have many friends with very different political, religious and eating-habit views, and we’re only able to be friends because of a deep mutual respect. Real respect goes well beyond mere “tolerance” of different viewpoints. It’s more like Voltaire’s statement paraphrased: “Though my viewpoint is different, I’d defend to the death, your right to yours.”

jaytkay's avatar

I have a dear old friend who is my voting buddy.

We never vote for the same candidates. So we both MUST vote, every election. We have canceled each other out over many, many years.

If one of us stayed home, the nation would be thrown dangerously left or right. God help you all if one of us dies before the other.

SeventhSense's avatar

Yes as long as they try to avoid conflict. I have a friend who is a very conservative Republican and if we ever get into it I can get really annoyed but if we just hang out and go fishing or talk shit we’re fine. I think it’s a good experience for both of us to exercise restraint and be considerate of each others views.

lillycoyote's avatar

Yes, and they can even have successful marriage, like Jim Carville and Mary Matalin.

saraaaaaa's avatar

Yes, I love a healthy debate and conflicts of interest are often the most interesting. It certainly provides the most interestine debates on Fluther

boxer3's avatar

I was roomates with someone for two years who held the exact opposite political views to my own…After a few frustrating political discussions we realized that it would be best to let eachother have their own stand on politics, and leave it out of our conversation as much as possible..Still friends with her, still like her, just don’t agree with her political views-

Nially_Bob's avatar

I concur strongly with @GeorgeGee. Befriending a person who is different to you, regardless of the way in which this is, requires respect for both the person and yourself.

flo's avatar

As I read your Q, I thought of the TV show “The View” (such a garbage show in my opinion), and what do you think Whoopie says about your Q? What I hear her thinking is, “No matter how bad I am/have been, you are all just as bad, and my standard should be the standard of behaviour, and we should all be friends”. Garbage. People shouldn’t be friends with people whose philosophy is garbagy.

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