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    COLUMN | How to be friends with someone despite political opinions

    In today’s society, it seems like everyone is exercising their right of free speech. 

    Some people’s free speech may come off as hate speech, which often leads to conflict. Trying to coexist with others who have different political views than you is agreeing to disagree. 

    I don’t know about you, but I’m a very passionate person. That translates to me being loud and overtly animated when I’m debating with friends and family. 

    Sometimes debates leave me and my loved ones feeling at odds if we’re not respecting one another. There is a way to have healthy communication with a person you disagree with. 

    This is done by listening to them and not over talking to them. Choosing to over talk someone you’re in a debate with will automatically make them feel unheard or not valued. When people start feeling these negative emotions while debating it can lead to yelling and misunderstandings. 

    In my Social Justice Issues class, I’ve had to learn how to be ethical in a newsroom. Even though sometimes it’s hard because you want to involve your feelings into the debates that arise. 

    The phrase “agree to disagree” has helped me make friends in this class. One girl that I’ve made friends with told me her political views and it made me very uncomfortable because they weren’t the same political views I had. 

    I started to enter a pessimistic way of thinking, “this is why I don’t talk about politics, and did I choose the right friend?” 

    I had to take a deep breath and remember the girl I liked when we first met. Before we knew each other’s political views we got along great. When my friend and I find ourselves debating opposite sides of political issues we “agree to disagree.”

    To agree to disagree means to disagree peacefully. It is possible to disagree with someone and be respectful and not to create animosity between the parties involved. Whether you agree or not, a person’s political views don’t represent who they are as a person. 

    For example, if someone supports a candidate I don’t support, that doesn’t make them a bad person. The strongest friendships are created when adversity causes you to grow stronger together. 

    According to Teen Vogue writer Sara Levy, “In considering our relationship, I remembered what has been written about the friendship between Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Although the two had opposing ideological beliefs, they maintained a close and respectful friendship, bonding over a shared love of opera and travel. While these conversations can feel daunting, it can also feel shortsighted to walk away from friends we love and respect. Deciding whether your friendship can transcend your respective political views is a personal choice that is yours and yours alone.”

    Friends are people you share intimate special moments with, and that’s not worth ruining over a difference in opinion when it comes to politics.    

    The opinions expressed in columns and letters represent the views and opinions of their individual authors. 

    These opinions do not necessarily reflect the Auburn University student body, faculty, administration or Board of Trustees. 

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