When Should Differing Political Opinions Affect Friendships?

One must weigh morality and the ability to accept factual information when choosing friendship over politics


Siena McGarrigle, Editor in Chief

Though politics have always been intertwined with many aspects of life, over the past four years politics have become more emotionally charged as a result of the controversial Trump administration, social justice movements, the 2020 presidential election and the global pandemic.

Lately, the stark contrast between political views has been the root of division not only within our nation but within the personal lives and relationships of Americans.

However, the debate lies in when we should end friendships due to political differences or if we should even let politics play a role in friendships at all.

While politics are more important to some rather than others, a person’s political beliefs and values are a key part of who they are. If your beliefs are something you strongly value, they should be somewhat relevant in your friendships.

Though it is healthy to interact with people who think differently and be introduced to different ideas within your social circle, these friendships can often result in intense arguments that exceed the bounds of politics and can become offensive.

I argue that there is a fine line between a person’s politics and their fundamental morals.  Many current topics that are not political in nature are now considered political, such as the Covid-19 vaccine and human rights.

After knowing someone’s stance on certain issues that you feel strongly about, you may not ever see them in the same light. I believe that if someone’s morality differs from yours in a way you know you can’t accept, it is completely valid to want to go your separate ways. 

The spread of misinformation has had a large influence on people’s beliefs, making political debates all the more heated and illogical with disputes over accurate information.

According to a 2016 study by Pew Research Center which sampled 1000 Americans, 71 percent say they often see false political news. The main issue with this abundance of misinformation is that many people blindly believe the information they see in the media without looking further into it or verifying that it’s coming from a credible source.

Personally, this epidemic of misinformation has caused me to end friendships and has forever changed how I view and converse with many of my relatives. I understand firsthand how frustrating it can be to have a conversation with someone who gets their information from unreliable sources and refuses to see reason or let go of their beliefs even when presented with accurate information. 

Although we should treat everyone with respect no matter what political stance they may take, it is fair to draw boundaries when it comes to our personal lives and friendships. When push comes to shove, you know yourself best, and you should maintain the friendships you decide you can handle.