Why I Won’t De-Friend Someone Because Of Their Political View

Election fever (I’m thinking more scarlet than one of passion) is sweeping the UK once more as we prepare to go to the ballot for the snap general election of 2017. You all know how I feel about Brexit and that it doesn’t take a genius to work out that I won’t be voting for the Conservatives, however I couldn’t be more encouraged to see people shaping and sharing their own political views online on social media and that’s why I won’t de-friend someone because of their political view.

I would rather be friends with people that hold polar political views to me than those who are apathetic when it comes to politics. Does that mean that I disagree with people’s view points any less – absolutely not; however with rights come responsibilities (gosh I sound like my mother) and that means that whilst we are all afforded the right of freedom of expression that doesn’t excuse us from the responsibility of ensuring our views expressed both in person and within a digital setting are respectful and within the law.

Healthy debate is good, what’s not good is when it crosses the line into bullying – there have been too many cases of people feeling singled out for their political view just because it differs from someone they are friends with on social media. I use the term ‘friend’ with trepidation because as the digital landscape continues to grow in terms of use and prevalence in our life we are friends with less and connected to more. By opening doors digitally are we closing them socially in terms of political tolerance?

General-Election-2017

I’ve also noticed a worrying trend to call people out online for being politically vocal in a ‘here they come again, spouting their political beliefs…’ manner or those that are negatively labelled for their beliefs and public statements. I’m often called a Remoaner simply for still shaking my head at Brexit – and this works both ways, it’s not just one side attacking the other. When you look at this abstractly without emotion it’s hard not laugh at the ludicrousness of it all. Individuals are singling out and attacking others for holding different political views when one of the biggest elephants in the room of contemporary politics is the seemingly acceptable notion that politics isn’t for everyone. Even at its highest in recent years, voter turnout is still a statistic of shame for the UK, how can we berate those that voice interest in politics when they are at least engaging in an aspect of our society that affects all of us every single day.

So whilst over the coming weeks I may pull a ‘what the…’ face when I ready your Facebook post, or RT of a political party or even when after a comment exchange that becomes heated because I cannot abide your political principles I will not narrow my exposure to other views by de-friending you because to do that would start a slow but fatal descent into discouraging political engagement and debate. Yes I may disagree with you but I will never hate you.

Oh and for goodness sake, don’t forget to vote – I really don’t care which political party gets your cross in the box, as long as you vote. It takes five minutes to register…

Share:

14 Comments

  1. May 11, 2017 / 15:20

    I have friends and family who have different political views to mines and I appreciate that they have their own opinion and prefer it that way. Would be boring to all be the same.

  2. May 11, 2017 / 15:40

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion absolutely! I am so shocked by the figures of voter apathy. Politics affects us all and it is really important everyone should have their say in the ballot box.

  3. May 11, 2017 / 19:37

    Me and my family are polar opposites when it comes to politics as is my best friend. I respect their opinions, but I do not have to agree with them1

  4. May 11, 2017 / 19:56

    I completely agree with this. Whilst my facebook timeline seems to be strongly one sided, I am loving that people are getting involved

  5. May 11, 2017 / 20:02

    Me and my own family are completely opposite in political views and we can’t unfriend our family! Not that I would unfriend anyone for having a view similar to mine. I agree it’s healthy to have polite debate and wrong to shame people for airing their views xx

  6. May 11, 2017 / 20:19

    You’re so right about all of this. I have a good friend who has pretty much opposite opinions to me with regards to Trump, immigration, gun laws etc. He’s not misinformed, he’s very well read on it all and it’s just his opinion. I respect him no end for it!

  7. May 11, 2017 / 20:27

    I wouldn’t de-friend someone for their political views either but if their political views were expressed as racism, homophobia or any other awful character trait then I would probably de-friend them – I’m all for having differing political views though x
    Donna recently posted..Making Better Food Choices with Tesco #everylitlehelpsMy Profile

  8. May 12, 2017 / 09:22

    I would never stop being friends with someone becuse of what party they voted for (unless it was UKIP??) But I have unfriended a lot of people on FB for anti-abortion or homophobic stuff. Those people were never really friends I’m I’m very glad I did it!

  9. May 12, 2017 / 16:02

    I particularly hate the use of name calling when someone has a different point of view. That’s just lazy and insulting and I would stop being friends with someone who was into calling people ‘remoaners’ or ‘snowflakes’ or whatever other silly names people have come up with. That sort of behaviour doesn’t even belong in the playground, but I have no problem with people having a different view to me in fact I like that they have thought about the issues. We need more political debate, not less.
    Erica Price recently posted..The Energy Behind Women’s FootballMy Profile

  10. May 12, 2017 / 20:07

    I can understand your point of view, but at the same time, I can’t agree. With the exception of the Independence Vote (Scottish), I’ve not voted. Irresponsible, sure, probably – but I just don’t feel like I understand what I’m voting for enough. If I did use my vote, it wouldn’t be because I was knowledgable about it, or I had a strong opinion, it would be because I feel guilty about not using my vote and I’d pick the first one that seems remotely in line with what I want from the country based on what google tells me. If I was to then complain about the outcome, it would be a completely different story – anyone who does not use their vote has absolutely no reason to criticize or comment on the outcome. One day I’ll vote, I promise (I just need to work out what the hell I think is best first).

  11. May 15, 2017 / 09:55

    Great post Rosie. Its become harder and harder to stay silent online as policies have seemed to increasingly neglect the views of those who don’t have any/ have smaller voices – children, homeless, refugees. I feel much more need to speak out and be open about my politics. I’m very influenced by things people have shared, its helped me to shape my opinions, and while I think we need to be really careful about sharing biased/fake news, we also can learn a lot from sharing politically online.
    Penny Alexander recently posted..5 favourite things from my summer wardrobeMy Profile

  12. May 15, 2017 / 20:56

    This is a great post Rosie. I do agree with people that have said they would de-friend for racism / homophobia etc. but none of those things are related to politics, politics may be used as an excuse for them but that’s all. I agree that it’s the wrong thing to do to defriend people, I’m all up for a debate or just ignoring posts you don’t like and scrolling on past.
    Nat.x

  13. May 16, 2017 / 17:59

    The world would be a boring place if we were all the same 😉

  14. May 24, 2017 / 22:08

    Great post. I also fully respect everyone elses views and would never defriend anyone. I’m not sure social media is actually helpful at times like this, as I worry people are influenced by incorrect information which gets shared.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge