Here’s a meme which isn’t that atypical. I think there’s times to really look at it and decide if it’s worthwhile to do it or to go the other way. There are a few reasons for this and it’s more relevant than ever. Doing Step 6 specifically says to move on even when you think someone’s absolutely full of shit (see Step 2). Whether moving on is worth it or not depends on what you think someone is full of shit about, who the person is, and what the implications of moving on really are. If you’re arguing with somebody you don’t know, then you’re doing so because you simply enjoy arguing and have some other things going on I’m just going to skip here. But what if it’s someone you know and like?
Last year as I was traveling, I jotted down a few dimensions I felt were worthy to break a friendship into. What’s elemental to wanting to have a good relationship with a person. Here they are, not that this is all-inclusive or definitive. Your mileage may vary, but they probably aren’t that far off.
Next, I ranked them according to what I thought was most important. Note that commitment has a star – caring about someone and not either showing commitment on your part ore receiving it from them means it’s not that strong a bond. Politics is a question mark I’ll hit on in a bit.
Meanwhile, if somebody really likes a different kind of music than I do, does it mean I won’t ride bikes with them? Probably not. If they don’t like anything else I do such as movies, reading, or sports, then building a bond is tougher but not impossible. Just because we can’t talk playoff football doesn’t mean you and I aren’t going to find something else to talk about – or there’s biking itself. One of my best friends loves reading about history and I tend to read about creativity, drawing, sci-fi, or detective stories. We’ve got more than enough common ground and we learn from each other.
However, what if core values are different? What if what really deeply matters to one person is in diametric opposition to the other? Or what if what’s absolutely critical to you is an area that the other person really doesn’t bother to think about? What happens then? Let’s have a look at where I’m going.
This box represents your set of beliefs. Let’s say that each of the bubbles represents something from that chart above. You’re going to have your own priorities on each topic you value with some being a lot more important than others. Some you may only have an opinion about if you’re asked, otherwise that bubble may not even be in your box.
Other people have their own boxes, their own values, and their own priorities. Your box is probably not going to be a clone of anybody else’s. I’d actually say that if you spend too much time with people whose bubbles are the same size, color, and quantity as yours then you probably need to broaden your source of ideas.
This is probably a more realistic depiction of your best friends. The things they see as overwhelmingly important are bonds for you. You differ on smaller things which are fun to discuss. They’re what makes each of you a bit unique and bring something to the friendship.
Here we’re getting more out of alignment. There are some major subjects Person A and Person B don’t agree on. That big purple value or interest is still core to what they have in common. These people have some disagreements and areas they find willing to simply move on about. For the sake of their friendship, they focus on what they both like and try not to step in the other messy stuff. These are the areas where you’re not going to move them off their position and don’t think it’s worth serious debate.
Then there’s this. There may be a point or two that these people can find in common, but that’s it. Overall, the skies are different on their planets. Their beliefs and interests are not in alignment to the point where even their mindsets aren’t recognizable. Even the commonalities are barely worth mentioning because of the polarity of the viewpoints surrounding them.
This is where politics comes up. On one hand, it’s uncomfortable because of how nasty the campaigns themselves were. On another level, people are realizing that others they thought were similar to them with minor differences see things much differently. Contrary to what some people on the winning side want to think, this isn’t about coffee mugs full of liberal tears. I don’t know any Clinton or Johnson voters (OK, or Stein voters – but I simply don’t know any) who want the election overturned. What many of us are wondering is if this is what Trump voters actually wanted or not. And if it is, whether we’ve got enough common values at this point.
Most people I’ve talked to who voted for Trump say they related to his Make America Great Again message and liked the idea of an outsider “draining the swamp” in DC. Some people felt dramatically poor impacts of the ACA. Others lost jobs due to changes in the economy and haven’t seen a way out. If that’s the main bubble in the Trump campaign values box, I get it and see the points. It’s not the biggest circle in my personal box and I have no problem with it.
What I do have problems with are the selections of appointees like Betsy DuVos who obviously doesn’t even know what the Department of Education does or Scott Pruitt who’s suing the department he’ll lead and isn’t recusing himself. Ben Carson said he wasn’t qualified for a spot on the Cabinet and he’s a surgeon who will lead HUD. On my planet, in my country, these are simply nonstarters. My value system doesn’t allow for this as an acceptable reality. It doesn’t see a government which can function. I’m not even talking about divisive issues such as gun control, abortion, gay marriage, or bathrooms.
I know you’re not changing your vote, that’s done. I’m not trying to Trumpshame you. I want a competent government even if its direction doesn’t align with mine. Trump failing to #MAGA is bad for us all. I am asking if things like these appointments, picking fights with the nation’s intelligence apparatus, trying to start trade wars, or breaking up NATO are what you envision for the country’s direction. If the answer is yes, then I’m afraid we’re living with very different points of view. If that’s the case, I may have to follow Step #6 and reluctantly move on.