Balancing Political Views And Friendships

Hold true to your core values, but challenge your views by engaging with others


Andrew Baker, Media Editor

People of all ages and lifestyles have different views on politics, making it a sensitive topic for millions around the country. Many students have passionate feelings about politics, and when combined with the angst of modern teenagers, it can turn into explosive arguments and ruined friendships.

As students grow older and become more involved in politics, it becomes increasingly important to associate with people of other opinions. Many students let their tempers get the best of them during these debates and don’t stop to think about other viewpoints. Whether you agree with other people’s opinions, it is crucial to accept and surround yourself with people who have different outlooks.

By conversing civilly with those of different opinions, you can expand your viewpoint even if you don’t change your mind. A recent study by Angela Bahns, assistant professor of psychology at Wellesley College, and Chris Crandall, KU professor of psychology, shows that most people surround themselves with like minded individuals. This study reveals that relationships don’t normally change people’s behaviors and mindsets because unconsciously they pursue relationships with people who think and look similar to themselves. 

While maintaining friendships with people who you don’t see eye to eye with on certain issues is critical, it is equally important to stand next to your own core beliefs. With America’s current political climate, many issues that people believe strongly in and are passionate about become questioned by peers with opposing views. While hearing and contemplating differing views on some topics is good for expanding your worldview, many people’s personal values get called into question.

By associating with those who undermine the things you stand for, it causes others to doubt your character, and it can negatively affect the person you are. If you branch out to include spending time with peers with differing viewpoints on issues, people you surround yourself with can open your mind and change your opinion, whether it’s intentional or not. 

However, it is necessary to stay away from people who challenge your core values, versus helping you to develop and alter opinions on issues, because you can lose the things you stand for.