Scorched Earth

There are two ways to deal with a failing friendship: The fade-out and the break-up.

Earlier this year, I discovered something about one of my friends that cut me to the core.  She declared support for a candidate during the primaries and then refused to discuss it further knowing that two of us at the table didn't share her views. When one of my other friends pressed her to explain what it was about the candidate she liked, she refused to answer the question. I exploded with accusations of racism and misogyny toward the candidate (guess who?) and couldn't hide my distaste for her choice given the number of candidates running in the primaries at the time. This was at the beginning of dinner and the rest of dinner was fairly tense. Obviously, my reaction was over the top, but I feel so strongly about it that I never apologized for my attack on her candidate.

Needless to say, I've ruined that friendship. I did invite her to a couple things this summer but she refused the invitations. I finally sent an e-mail that, while I tried my best to soften it, I felt the need to discuss the rhetoric that will absolutely affect my kid. I never got a reply from her, and I guess I can't fault her for not replying or wanting to discuss it when my views are as black/white as hers are, on opposite sides.

This is the only time I have made a decision to leave or break on my own. I typically want so bad to hold onto the friendship that I try everything I can until it's made perfectly clear by the other person that they don't like me anymore. In this case, I thought long and hard about what this group of friends brings to my life and whether it was born of mutual interests or of convenience. In talking with my therapist, it became clear that this group is one of convenience. They all got married at the same time, then they started having babies and all of their kids are within a year of each other. There are six kids in that group who are all close in age. My kids are off by a year to three years and X is the oldest. We don't fit nicely, as became clear on our last "get a house in the mountains" outing as Baby Z had to be chased everywhere, but was too young to play and X got bored. Not to mention the pregnancy and breastfeeding talk because they were all pregnant at the same time with #2. I drank with the dads.  

Anyway, discussions between me and S started after that about whether we really needed these friends. He wasn't clicking with their husbands and we felt "other". But, I figured, hey these are girlfriends who are fun to hang out with (or were pre kiddos) so I'll stick with book club and such. We had a few game nights with and that was pretty fun. It seemed to be like a good group to stick with even if most connections were tenuous at best. For instance, I never hung out one on one with the other two, and felt like my other friend was the only connection I had to this group. And, we hung out for about 5 years, so if something more substantial were going to develop, it would have.

Well, then the politics started coming out and it became clear very quickly that despite the desire of two people not wanting to discuss it because they have different views than us other two, I became more and more uncomfortable. Then the dinner happened and that was that. I think I even unfriended her on FB.  *update* No I didn't, just unfollowed her. I'm not on FB much anyway except for groups so it doesn't matter. Plus she never posts. 

That brings me to another question why is it so bad to unfriend people? Is there a reason why we need to be engaging with the other side as it's well-documented that social media posts hardly ever change anyone's mind? S and I have talked about the election and what our country will look like after it we both realize that no matter who wins, it appears that the divisiveness is not going away. When I'm part of the problem because I refuse to listen to her side, although she won't really divulge her views, what does that make me? Am I just as bad as the misogynistic racist candidate?