June 1st, 2015 by Jan

Curious conversation — when making new friends does political or religious opinions make a difference to you?

How about with people you’ve known and loved for years?

When my friends A and L told me they were going to have a child, I told them that I would do my best to stay in their life. That sounds arrogant, but the truth is, most of my friends that decided to have children and I parted ways. That is unless their kids where grown up already or not a part of our relationship.

News flash – I am not kid friendly.

So far I have kept my word to A and L, and I’m glad I did. Their son is 16 or 17 years old or something like that. They also have a 5 or 6 year old daughter. I am still not kid friendly, no one calls me Auntie Jan, but I treasure the friendship so much that I wasn’t willing to walk away from them just because they procreate.

I also have a few friends who believe in a god and some that their church is important to them. Even though we disagree, I wouldn’t dream of walking away from them. I doubt I have any friends who like Steven Harper or George Bush – but I have family who does.

So, I do have good friendships with people who hold different political, social, or religious views than me. But, truth be told — not that many. And I don’t hang out at church, playgrounds, or the Conservate party so as to meet many more.

Perhaps birds of a feather — flock together. And, truthfully I could not imagine being friends with anyone who is homophobic, racists or mean spirited.

I do not enjoy discussion or debate with close minded folks and they probably don’t either. (Except, I do know some who take the opposite view no matter where you stand, just for sport.)

I usually ask right off the bat, is there anything that would or could make you change your mind about XY or Z? If the answer is no, I tend to move on down the road. The same goes for if I answer no to the same question. If my feet are dug in, what good am I?

Now, as open minded as I think I am, I do get my feet firmly dug in on some topics. I’ll probably always say, Fuck Cancer! I can’t imagine not wanting to kick Steven Harper in the balls, and it is very hard to imagine me ever being kid friendly.

So, as we become part of a new community and try to make new friends, I am learning more about myself, and am curious as to where I will draw the line and hold comfort with folks holding different views than mine.

5 thoughts on “birdsofafeather

  1. Michael

    I do have some reasonably strong opinions which if vehemently disagreed with, would likely preclude friendship. I think causing any animals pain is morally wrong, and we should expend a lot of effort as a society to avoid pain for the animals we use for food or in the laboratory. I don’t mind if people enjoy the flavor of bambi, I don’t even mind people hunting for sport if they are actually going to eat bambi when they catch him. But if they enjoy the suffering of bambi, I probably wouldn’t be able to get past that. Likewise, I don’t think I could befriend a scientologist. There was a moment where my brain was afraid that someone I cared about was a scientologist, and my brain did some mental gymnastics for a bit. Fortunately it was a false alarm. But I suspect that would have been the cooling of our budding friendship. I don’t mind my friends being wierd and woo woo. But I find comfort in woo woo which is benign on a personal level (even if it is damaging on a macro level). Politically, I don’t really mind if my friends are genuinely libertarian, or communist, or right wing, or left wing. Opinions about how to run a society with pie-in-the-sky proclamations don’t phase me. However, such strong minded political leanings often go with not empathizing with the real suffering of others. I can enjoy playing with even extremely selfish friends, but I will be wary, and it prevents me from trusting them, so it keeps the friendship at a surface level.

    1. Kenneth Smith

      Hello Jan. I think you question needs to be expanded and tweaked a bit. The issue for me is not can I have friends who have differing “opinions’ than mine (absolutely yes I can and do), but differing “world views” than mine. I believe that mine and your “beliefs and opinions” about religion/god are much more than that. The reflect our “world view” of humanity and the purpose of life. I have much more than a “belief and opinion” about the existence of God, I actually have a world view that claims that a loving God not only exists, but is active in the world and humanity He created and that He can be trusted despite our questions and doubts. My world view affects everything I do, everything I think and say. Just as i suspect your world view that there is no god affects everything you do, think, and say. So, given that reality, it may be difficult for two such persons with such opposing world views to be “friends” in the sense of being emotionally close and finding common ground. Not impossible, just difficult. Thank you for allowing me to respond, Blessings to you my cousin, KG

  2. Jan Post author

    Perhaps the biggest flag for me to watch for is when I say or hear the words …
    “I’m right and you are wrong.”


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