There is little in my life that I value more than friendships. I do my best to treat my friends in a manner that lets them know how much I value them and try to make sure I put my friends first. If I am your friend, there is little that I will not do for you. I have no problem prioritizing you and will gladly inconvenience myself for you. I am not trying to brag, but I think people who know me would vouch for this.
It gets me in trouble sometimes. Life moves and friendships naturally fade and sometimes just run their course. I have a very hard time accepting this and often let it bother me too much. At it’s heart, I think the issue is that I place friendships at such a high value.
This is why I am so pained to see how the value of friendship has been so deflated in the past week. Fair warning. Some of you may want to stop reading here. There will be no editing. No re-phrasing or re-wording. No editing for structure. I’m typing, saving, and publishing whatever I write next.
It is killing me to see so many friendships ended over the election. Personally, I have lost not a single friend. My candidate is not in office. I am scared and disappointed. Most of my friends voted along my lines, so I am not in direct conflict with them.
However, I see the hate that is thrown all over my social media feeds and conversations. I hear the horrible generalizations that are made about people who voted differently. Regardless of whether or not they are true, they are terrible things to be throwing at people who you have had personal relationships with. Friendships are ending. And a lot of it is coming from people with whom I agree. I agree with them politically. I am as dumbfounded as they are and understand most of the angry memes, cartoons, and rants but can not get behind destroying friendships.
What is worse than the pain I feel for my country is the pain I feel when I realize, “If I had filled in a different bubble, I would have lost friends.” Years of friendship, good times, bad times, conversations, tears, sacrifice and comfort would have been lost based on a vote. To me, it’s not worth it. My grieving after this election has not been about the result but for the realization that the value of many of my relationships is much lower than I realized. It kills me to see a friend destroying another friend and realizing, “All I would have had to do is vote differently and that would have been me.” That’s it. Done. All that work and effort into cultivation a relationship… gone.
When you fight fire with fire, everyone burns.
I do not want to talk about the election anymore because all I can think about is how many friendships it has destroyed. In four years this will change, but right now I can not even imagine myself voting in the next election. Not because of political apathy, disrespect for my rights, or a feeling a helplessness but more so because it feels like that tiny little ink bubble is a poison pill to something that I value above almost everything. Friendship.
I have lost not a single friend because of this election but I realize that is largely because I happen to vote in a manner that did not upset my friends. That literally depresses me. Please do not politicize this. Please do not use it to support a view you may have. Please do not interpret this a political apathy. Do not take this a plea to simply move on. I am not asking anyone to ignore what is happening Interpret this as the ramblings of a sad man who is watching friendships end and realizing they could easily be his.
Interpret as a plea for everyone to stop being such dicks. If you are spewing hate because you feel empowered by the results. Stop being such a dick. If you are running around insulting your friends and making horrible generalizations about them because of their votes. Stop being such a dick.
To my friends. I love you. I have always known about your political opinions and I have chosen to love you because of, or in spite of, them. I have yet to look at a friend and say, “I am surprised you voted that way.” My time with you and my relationship with you is way more important than what you did last week. I refuse to hate you or lose you. I place way too much of a value on friendship but am deeply saddened that so many feel differently.
I am sorry if I have offended anyone. I am sorry if I have thrown a log on someone’s fire of furthered their point. I apologize if this is rambling, incoherent, poorly written and filled with typos. I am not going even re-read what is above. I am sorry if I am flat out wrong.
Do what you need to tomorrow. Call politicians. Be active. Fill my Facebook feed with articles. I probably agree with most of them. However, make sure you are stopping to love your friends. Don’t let your fervor burn relationships that have been so carefully built. Don’t deflate the value of friendship. Just love. Please?