A Guide to Being a Decent Person on Social Media When Your Friends Just Don’t Agree With Your Politics

By: Nicole Sweeney

You know what? I’m tired of the political passive aggression on social media. Therefore, here’s a directly aggressive rant on how I feel about it.

I can’t tell you how many people I’ve seen posting status updates that beg their friends and followers to stop posting about politics, and then will personally post something like, “He won. Get over it.” on a meme just days after claiming that politics had no place on social media. (I use this example, from a Trump supporter, because this is the most recent real-life instance that I witnessed on social media.)

What happened to their own suggestion of removing politics from the realm of social media altogether? It seems that they only feel this way if the political ideas they see on their news feed differ from their own. Of course, if they agree with people’s political posts, they’re always quite welcome and you won’t hear an utterance of complaint.

I can’t tell you how many posts I’ve seen of people claiming to not understand other people’s political views and will openly ask for further explanation. Even when other people comment to explain their point-of-view, their words go unheard and the querent simply repeats their condescending questions about “the other guy’s views” over and over, without ever acknowledging the information for which they inquired.

What happened to their curiosity? It seems as if they never really wanted an answer at all, rather, they wanted an affirmation that their own political views are the only ones that even make sense in the first place.

Super mature behavior, right?

So, here it is: if you post about politics on social media, you are officially banned from complaining about other people posting about politics on social media. You don’t have more rights than everyone else.

If you don’t agree with other people’s political views, don’t instigate an issue by inquiring about them and then refuse to listen to the actual response. That’s just patronizing.

Now, I realize that simply posting this blog qualifies as complaining about people posting about politics on social media, but I’d like to clarify that it is not people’s political opinions that I am finding so bothersome. It is people’s online behavior regarding their opinions that I find bothersome. Feel however you wish and I promise it won’t bother me in the least. If you act on that feeling in a disrespectful way toward others, that’s a different story entirely.

I disagree with quite a lot of my friend’s political posts on social media, but I don’t play into the conflict either. In fact, I’ll often bypass their political posts entirely out of respect for them; I don’t want to argue with my friends. If we happen to feel differently, then so be it. The only thing I really expect from my friends is an ability to behave as an adult, even in times of verbal conflict, and a steady command of their words and thoughts instead of resorting to bullying or passive aggressive antics.

For those of us that live in America, we should expect diversity in thought and in lifestyles from our fellow Americans. Our country was built upon the diversity of immigrants, and we should therefore expect differing opinions due to different life experiences and cultural upbringing. We don’t have to agree on everything as a country of people. In fact, we should not. The fact that we argue so vehemently proves that we are passionate, if nothing else! If there is passion, then there is also hope, however small that sliver of positivity may be.

If you really want to ease the tension in the world, then prove it with tolerance and respect. Nothing else will work. Passive aggression and the best-worded memes in the world will not win over those that you disagree with, because you have no regard for your audience. Speak as loudly as you want, a disrespectful speaker’s (or typer’s) words will not be truly heard through the stagnant fog of condescension.

I say again, citizens of the internet, prove that you seek not chaos!

We can.

We should.

We will!

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