Only one more week until the 2016 Presidential election is over! If you’re wondering how to manage your friendships during the election read on. Day after day, I see people unfriending and unfollowing their BFFs because they support a different candidate. This election cycle has been particularly rough on some of the best and deepest friendships. Many people have opted to stay off social media, while some have chosen to block of unfriend friends. So, how do you manage your friendships during the election?
How to Manage your Friendships during the Election
Accept that you can’t change anyone – As of this writing no one has ever successfully changed the mind of a voter by posting memes, stating their opinion in ALL CAPS, or demanding that their friends unfriend them if they don’t agree with their choice. You can’t stop your friends from posting these kinds of demanding status updates, but you can accept that they will end after the election. You can either let it slide or unfollow them until after the election.
Don’t engage with trolls – It’s one thing to have a discussion between two adults who respect each other. It’s quite another to engage with every troll that inevitably shows up on these discussion threads. Unless you want to get all worked up and stressed out, ignore the trolls.
Check sources – Many of the memes that are repeatedly shared have at best misleading information in them. If you must share a meme, do your homework. Check the source if one is provided. If there is no source, it’s probably safe to assume the “facts” aren’t really facts at all.
Unless you’re some wizard with regard to politics, history, economics and business you’re probably better off asking questions rather than making statements. At least if you don’t want your social media platforms to blow up with name calling.
Be nice – Remember what mom used to say? “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” That should go for politicians as well, but so far it hasn’t. Don’t stoop to their level. Treat those with different opinions with the same respect you would want them to show you.
Remember that friends forgive each other. If you have had a falling out because of politics, wait until after the election to try to rebuild any bridges that might have burnt down. Time heals most wounds and politics is no different. Remember that we’re all in this together.
Dr. Janna Fond lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and two children. When not seeing clients, playing with her kids or working on her latest manuscript, she enjoys cycling, yoga and relaxing on the beach.