Elective Friendships

Published: November 6, 2008 | Last Updated: November 6, 2008 By | 4 Replies Continue Reading

One political poll reported that a large majority of voters said they would be frightened if the presidential candidate—other than the one they supported—won the election. It reminded me of how we live in our own little worlds.


The differences between the parties’ candidates were great and I have to admit: Most of my friends have similar political leanings to my own. It isn’t that we agree on every issue but, in general, we have shared values–which I consider an important component of close friendships.


To tell you the truth, my world is actually so small that I even have a hard time relating to people who don’t like some of my favorite movies or television shows. How can we be friends if we don’t even laugh at the same jokes? Well the election is over and, hopefully, most of my friendships will remain intact.


Depending on how opinionated and strident a person is—whether the topic is politics or popular culture—it’s natural to feel alienated from people who aren’t like us. But just as politics has the power to make strange bedfellows, if we focus on what we have in common rather than what sets us apart, it’s a great way to build and strengthen our friendships.


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  1. Irene says:

    It probably depends on a person’s ability to respect differences and what the differences are. It sounds like you and your "different" friend have enough in common and basic respect for one another. Thanks for reading my blog!

  2. Kim says:

    I totally agree on focusing on what we have in common with our friends to build and strengthen our friendships, but to also agree that there will be times when we agree to disagree on topics. I am forging a friendship with an individual who is totally opposite of me career-wise and even most of our social activities are different. I think we see beyond the differences and respect and appreciate each other for who we are, and the fact that many of our beliefs and values are similar.

  3. Irene says:

    It’s hard for me to imagine how a close friend could vote for the other candidate or not laugh at Curb Your Enthusiasm. Depending on what your values are—and how closely held they are–it can create a boundary between those you can include in your friendship circle and those you exclude. What were your thoughts, Barbara?


  4. I so relate to this and would love to hear you say more about the topic.

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