Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Wherein A Good Friendship Becomes a Little Sticky.......

I noticed recently that someone had "unfollowed" my blog. I'm sure it has happened before, but I noticed it this time because my number of followers went from a nice round even number to a not so nice odd one. It feels a little odd to be "unfollowed", but the truth is that lots of my not-so-many-anyway followers haven't been around in the blog world for a while.

It got me thinking about a face-to-face friendship that has become a little sticky lately. I have a friend who is a very kind, very sweet, and very generous woman.....until it comes to anything involving politics. She is very staunch in her political beliefs and surprises me with her vitriol toward those who don't believe as she does or toward candidates of the party opposing the one she supports. It is not that she and I necessarily disagree politically because mostly we don't. What we don't agree about is that anyone who believes differently is a liar, a cheat, an idiot....or worse. During the last presidential election we had "words" when I commented that I thought there were as many "untruths" being told from one side as the other. I admire her passion but I have a hard time accepting her intolerance of differing views.

Since then I have mostly tried to avoid any political topics, until recently when I mentioned that I wanted to see the movie The Butler. She came out with a tirade about how the movie was a bunch of lies, the casting was a slap in the face to any right thinking person and no one with any brains would pay money to see it.....not her exact words, but that is how it sounded to me. After bravely saying that I still wanted to see the movie I successfully changed the subject and we haven't talked since.

I certainly don't want to lose a friend, but I also can't be comfortable in a friendship that makes me feel like I am walking on eggshells in terms of safe topics of conversation. She is not a person with whom you can just agree to disagree. Right now I am just wishing that there was something as easy as an "unfollow" button, but face to face friendships don't work that way.

Have you ever felt the need to "unfollow" a face-to-face friend?


  1. Well, yes, it does sometimes happen and when it does, it isn't pleasant. If I lose too many close friends, I won't have any! Even with my closest friends, we rarely get into politics - too heated a topic for most people. I don't use a followers button on my blog, mainly because I'm kind of fickle, following a blog on my dashboard anonymously and then disappearing if I'm not interested anymore. No use hurting anyones's feelings! PS I want to see The Butler, too! Heard it's good.

  2. I was unfriended by a good friend about 16 years ago. It was very difficult for me to accept, because I didn't think I did anything wrong. It takes me back to the saying "friends come in and out of our lives for reasons." You shouldn't have to walk on eggshells for anyone! If you are long time friends, maybe you just need some time apart. I want to see "The Butler", too!

  3. I find it hard to be friends with people who believe life is black and white. Most things in life are kind of grey.

  4. Apparently "The Butler" is not an exact portrayal of the real people involved, and may put forth a slanted political agenda, that is what some people say, I have not seen it. Still it is a movie and It is supposed to be entertaining, people should not have to debate about going to a movie. I often get lambasted for my political views and I try to be civil and fair, but there are (extreme)people on both sides who react with unrealistic anger over opposing positions. I am a fiscal conservative (in general)who leans to the left on many social issues. I have several very liberal blogger friends who are capable of debating and not hating, but that is all too rare these days. Too many people on either side are incapable of discussing and sometimes even thinking. You are better off unfriending or being unfriended from such people.

  5. it's hard when people are so one sided...we can't always agree with everyone on every detail...I don't hold it against them...sounds like she's not willing to meet in the middle...sad...she's loosing a good friend in you...

  6. Good evening, dear Jeanie! This is an excellent topic but a tough question for me to answer. I say that because I have high standards when it comes to friendship and at this point in time I honestly don't have any face-to-face friends, only acquaintances. I automatically steer away from discussing politics or religion with said acquaintances.

    I can therefore only answer your question as it pertains to my online relationships given the fact that I have several good email and blog friends. Recently, I lost one good blog friend because he kept flooding my inbox with hateful political propaganda and obviously assumed that I agreed with his position. When I finally came out of the closet, revealed to him that his political beliefs are the opposite of mine and asked to be removed from his mailing list, he unfriended me completely. I haven't heard from him since in emails or on my blog.

    My very best friend also happens to be on the other side of the political aisle and there have been a few times when our irreconcilable political differences have tempted me to unfollow her; but there are other factors that are the glue holding our friendship together.

    Most of my other good friends agree with me politically. Even so, I do not like to dwell on the topic because it ultimately stirs negative emotions. Politics and religion have a way of doing that to people. I certainly don't enjoy the company of people who shout, "My way or the highway." I appreciate moderate, open minded people who are willing to compromise.

    Thank you very much for serving this food for thought, dear friend Jeanie, and enjoy the rest of your week!

  7. I have to say if it is an uncomfortable situation and you don't feel like you can talk openly with her, I think "unfollowing" her friendship seems like a wise thing to do, Jeanie. It is sad that it is "her way or the highway" so to speak in her relationships and she can't be gracious to accept the fact that people can disagree but do it civilly and still remain friends at the end of the day.

    I have not had to unfollow a face to face friend, usually it is because we move, LOL, and it is easier to let relationships die over distance.


  8. Can't imagine why someone would want to unfollow you, although that's happened to me too But then, I just discovered how wonderful follow is about five months ago and I'm amazed I lasted in blogland all these years without it!

    That IS a dilemma -- I suppose you can let it go -- not seek her out. Be cordial if you see each other but not engage in discussions that might tread dicey ground. Or simply say, "We'll never agree on this, and I feel very uncomfortable with such a vehement expression of such things." But that takes a lot more guts than I suspect I would have.

    I'm with you on seeing the Butler. I did read and also hear on the news that they took a good deal of liberty with reality, combining stories as so many movies do. But the premise is genuine and I've heard the acting is exceptional. And it does tell a critical story in our time. Too bad you aren't here -- we could go together!

  9. I notice you don't have my blog on your blogroll, though you comment regularly on it. Hmmm?

    Anyway, I periodically do a purge of my blogroll. If I lose interest in a blog and find myself not visiting it, I simply delete it. Why keep deadwood on the roll?

  10. First I do not show the "following" section on my blog. I do not follow others and I do not ask them to follow me. So wondering about who is "unfollowing" me is not a problem.

    I can only maintain friendships with persons who can "agree to disagree". Others will simply fall by the wayside as I choose to ignore their banter. Usually those who scream the loudest don't really know any of the facts of an issue including history or current events.

  11. I have been unfollowed on the blog as well. Since I'm not really a regular writer, I don't mind. It's my blog and I'm writing for me, so if some people don't like it, so be it. Now real life a different matter. Can't remember that I've been "unfollowed", but we lost touch or grew apart. I guess the same thing. With some people you just click and with others,it's harder.
    I do avoid writing about my personal opinions on politics or religion on my blog though (mostly). I know some people have very strong feelings on these topics, so I try to steer away from them.
    I would never unfollow you though!

  12. The times we live in have become so uncivil. When these uncivil responses come from friends, it becomes difficult. I hate how politics divide these days. There is now end to it all.

    We saw The Butler. I highly recommend it. I won't spoil it for you, but would be interested in your response to the movie.

  13. I just spent three long weeks with a variety of house guest-- some of whom I'd have liked to "unfriend" during their (too long) stay ;-)

    It's hard when it's a real life friendship going bad but sometimes friendship run their course. For me in the past-- I kinda think that the other person felt the same way because when I've stepped back they did too.

    xo jj

  14. Oh my gosh I JUST blogged about this recently - about how politics cause such a reaction in us. It's crazy isn't it?

  15. a sad sweet story; wishing them both umpteen blessings

    much love...

  16. I do have a few friends who are on the other side of the political spectrum. One of them wrote some pretty awful things about the president and liberals on my Facebook. I told him I was deleting his comment because his language was offensive not just to me but my other friends. He understood and is much more polite now. I noticed that he prefaced something on his FB saying he knew that what he was saying now would upset several in his family and some friends... and then he let loose. At least it wasn't on my FB.

    As for the Followers thing, I think sometimes it goes up and down even if somebody didn't unfollow you.

    I've had one person tell me that they would no longer comment on my blog because I had to use word verification for a while. I accepted that.

    The people I pay most attention to are the regular commenters on my sidebar who are part of my cyber family. I guess we all have our own system how we use that. I then have the group who don't comment or post often, but are fun blogs to read. Wow! I'm really going off on a tangent aren't I? Have a great Sunday, Jeanie!

  17. I've had to avoid certain topics with lots of people because they get so upset. But that makes them not a real friend anyway.

    I have to restrain myself quite a bit. I am a professional negotiator and am comfortable with conflict and frank opinions and many people are not.

    I find it best to just avoid sensitive topics with people I don't know very well.

    I don't worry about followers. Blog posts are for people who show up to read them.

    I unfriend people on facebook all the time. It makes some people upset and I just tell them that it is not life it is just facebook. But if they are very biased politically (either left or right) or have lots of emotional diarreah then they are gone.

  18. Jeanie,
    What a good question you ask, and what a tough one, too.

    Yes, I have (only rarely) but sometimes had to back away from someone who was either too angry or too smug to enjoy being around them. It feels icky, but it also feels necessary. Good post.

  19. It is certainly easier to unfollow an electronic acquaintance than it is to end a real friendship. However, there are times when difficult decisions have to be made and we have to live with the consequences. That's life. Hope it all works out for you.