Losing friends due to politics

The polarized political climate is destroying longstanding friendships


Miranda Macias , Photo Editor

“Wait, what is happening here? How did I not know the friend that I have known since kindergarten had such completely opposite political views than mine? How can this be? Great, I am going to have to unfriend them now.”

This comment has become common for the high school age demographic, but why? Anyone who spends time online, more specifically social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat, can attest that the 2020 Presidential political race fueled a daily broadcast of people bashing one another on social media due to their political views or opposing political views.

How could there be such an extreme shift in respecting oppositional views suddenly or was it always present? The last presidential race of 2016 was more than four years ago, and at that time my generation was four years younger. Most of my high school classmates had barely even hit puberty let alone developed an expressed interest in politics.

Could this be the reason 2016’s political culture seemed less aggressive?

In a September 2012 Huffington post article, “two scholars identified communication as a centrally important component in the family environment, and that — over and above individual styles — these communication patterns influence political attitudes and behaviors.” Adolescence is a time when youth are molded and shaped, it is fair to conclude the familial influence on politics parties play in our decision making. Perhaps this be the reason so many teens are so passionate about their political choices, their families strong influence. Maybe this is why the generation of “cancel” is so accepting to lose friendships?  Rebecca Warner, a blogger for the Huffington Post tells a story of a 30-year friendship lost after sharing she attended a Hillary and Michelle rally. The friend proceeded to say “Whenever I see Michelle on TV, I thinks she looks like a gorilla.” Warner was so disappointed in her friend of 30-years, she cut off all communication and ended their friendship. 

According to an Enochs High School sophomore who asked not to be named due to the sensitive nature of the topic, the issue is widespread – even if many don’t subscribe to the division.

“Yes, in my opinion I think it is silly that people would end a friendship over political views especially since there will be a new president in the next four to eight years.”

When a separate female Enochs High School sophomore was asked the same question, her response was “I do believe it is possible to keep friendships when people have differing political views. For me, personally, it is only when people are ignorant about it. Also, it is hard to maintain a friendship if the other person does not at least try to see your different view of politics. You can’t have a good, healthy friendship without communication and understanding of the other person thoughts.” Both students were also asked “at any point in the last year have you felt fearful of losing friends if you were to discuss politics.” Anonymous Student number one said,” I never talk about politics because I know someone would always have something to say so by not choosing a side, I was safe. Everyone should be entitled to their own opinion yet with politics, you are hated and shamed if you don’t agree with what the other views. I didn’t want to lose friends so by not picking a side I wouldn’t have anything to worry about.” The second students’ response was “I am not fearful if they don’t like who or what I choose that’s on them. I deserve the respect and if they’re not mature enough to handle our differing positions, peace out.” 

Is it maturity, a lack of respect, or it is a sign of today’s times that people are so easily inclined to delete, cancel or block friendships over politics? Should our voices be silenced because our fear of losing a friendship chokes us? The culture is of “cancel” is real and the blatant disrespect and lack of productive communication has to end before we can heal.