Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Fickle Friendships

"An insincere and evil friend is more to be feared than a wild beast; a wild beast may wound your body, but an evil friend will wound your mind." -- Buddha

It seems that I have inadvertently alienated a long-time acquaintance on Facebook by blogging an opinion of the current political situation in Montreal. I already knew that we had greatly differing viewpoints, judging by the conversation we had immediately following the last provincial election, but I never thought that it would go this far.

Her initial reaction to the blog had been one of disgust. Then she asked me that, if things were as bad as I believed them to be, why did I continue to live here? My first thought was perhaps her question was meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but not wanting to interpret it wrongly, I took the question at face value and told her my reasons: my family, my husband's family, and the fact that I like it here.

Her final message was that she had to delete her response because she could no longer continue an exchange with me. Our views were too radically different and that fact was "getting under her skin". It didn't take me long to realize that she had unfriended and blocked me.

I sent a message to a mutual friend asking to relay an apology for me, but the friend declined to get involved. I wasn't surprised by that, nor by the torrent of comments by other people saying that it was sad to abruptly break off communication just on the basis of conflicting opinions. I had all but put this whole incident into the "life lessons" basket when I decided to check my Email. Facebook automatically sends notifications of messages and comments to my inbox, and there it was: the aforementioned response that had been deleted from my FB wall.

Its content was self-serving and insulting towards me. In brief, she said that she had never been affected or bothered by the political/social situation, and couldn't understand why so many people were behaving as if it was the worst thing. If I truly was bothered by what was going on, instead of writing about it I ought to either become a politician myself and fight for change, or pack up and leave.

A lot of what she said reminded me too much of my father, who also has strong political views and will quickly lose his temper when contradicted. I learned a long time ago to not discuss certain subjects with him for that reason. Apparently my now-former friend is the same.

I don't feel like apologizing to her any more. If anything, she owes ME one.

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