In the parking lot, I heard such greetings between two old ladies and an old man. The man asked them how was their day. They had just attended a gathering to support Hillary and hopefully declared their favor of the candidate. “While I’m a Trump guy.” followed the man. “Then, we are not friends any more.” The two women entered in their car and drove away.
This dialogue amazed me, yet I still doubted about the irony or the joke in such a daily communication. I had never taken the political opinion into consideration when I make friends. First, it’s not easy to know others’ real opinion about a delicate issue. Second, in China we hardly debated on politics, which turned out to be pure chatting. Third, it’s easy to reach a consensus when we all complain about the government but not in support of a certain leader.
The new age comes where we are all connected in the social web, which makes the expression of our own beliefs easy and the others’ opinion transparent. By reading others’ comments and declarations, we constantly redefine the profile that they project in our mind. “I never know that she was so stupid!” “How extreme you are!””That’s a great deal of hatred!” “Never could I discuss with him any more.”
Although the recent presidential election didn’t concern directly me neither most of my friends, which was also a main reason that we discussed much more than an average U.S citizen in his surroundings, we all had the impression that many walls were being built up between us as our discussion went on with more and more disagreement. Some dialogue even became an accusation, a deception of trust, and a reason to end the friendship.
“Let’s hope another victory in France, with a true empowered woman!” declared one of my friend this morning. This made me so angry that I instantly block our communication. Another friend also cheered up by sharing some dirty jokes, which made me sick all morning. How could I believe that they are all actual teachers in university. They accused me of my elitism and my blindness of the reality, while I felt so humiliated by their arrogance and discrimination.
I don’t know whether our friendship will survive after this turmoil. To ensure the longevity of any relationship, we should never stand too close, because each individual has a natural defense of his basic needs including safety and self-esteem.