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Politics aside, this friendship may deserve a recall

Re-examine your friendship from every side of the debate

Q: My longtime friend and I are both in our 20s, and we have very different political views. This was never a problem because we learned to skirt most issues and always agreed to disagree.

Recently, her views have been affecting our friendship. My boyfriend is upset about the extreme comments her boyfriend wrote on Facebook. And most recently, when we and some friends hung out as a group and had a few drinks, she made some comments that were, in my mind, downright ignorant.

She and her boyfriend know we're not the right audience, so how do I tell her not to bring up that stuff because it's hurting our friendship?

Left and right side

A: Maybe I'm just cranky, but that sounded like a threat: "Quit your wing-nut comments or else."

It's not your place to silence her views, even ones you find "downright ignorant." As long as you choose to remain her friend, you're choosing that side of her, too.

It does seem you're ready to bury your truce before it's dead. Your boyfriend is reacting to her boyfriend's Facebook posts, and your friend made "some comments" the other night.

She violated your agree-to-disagree pact exactly once. Does that really warrant your calling her out? If she keeps spewing, you're entitled to make a request.

That is, if you still like her. This one night seems to be deep under your skin. Maybe the problem is that the reasons you're "very good friends" are in the past, and what's left are wincing, avoidance and nostalgia. Completely normal. In that case, find polite ways to see less of this friend.

The skeptical sister: Surviving the wedding-day storm

Q: My fiance and I have only been together since November, and we got engaged in March.

Most are happy and supportive because I gave up on getting married — I am now 36 — and planned to have kids on my own. My only sister is my maid of honor, and I thought we would have a blast.

Instead, she doesn't support my getting married so fast. Is it wrong to think that if she can't support my relationship, she shouldn't have said yes? I'm afraid this will ruin our relationship.


A: Let's say you're right to think that; what do you plan to do about it?

We've probably all seen someone with misgivings about a couple handling an invitation to be in their wedding party. It's an awful spot to be in.

Your sister made the choice with the least integrity. To accept and rally or decline and explain are difficult options, but either one would have been better, if you can take "no" for an answer.

You can choose one of the better options for her. Tell her it hurts to have her quasi-involved. Acknowledge her opinion and show gratitude that she was honest with you. Then offer her the chance to bow out gracefully.

She can care about you, choose not to support you and resist being punitive. It is important to love people as a package, conflicting opinions and all. Trust that your relationship with her is bigger than her dissent. Since you admitted desperation, met someone, then got engaged soon afterward, certainly there's slack to be cut for a sister burdened by doubt?

Politics aside, this friendship may deserve a recall 08/13/11 [Last modified: Friday, August 12, 2011 3:28pm]
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