No worries, folks! This struggle does not belong to me (thank goodness). However, it is something that one of my best friends is dealing with at the present time.
I contacted my Vietnamese friend Maggie yesterday evening just to check in with her after Tuesday’s tumultuous election night. As I previously shared with you all, she contacted me the night before the election to tell me that she was scared of how things might go. At the time, I tried to assure her that everything would be fine and that as long as we voted, we’d done our part. Now I was reaching back out trying to find my own answers.
She told me that she was trying to be more hopeful, as I instructed her to be days before, but was still nervous about what the results meant for our country. She was also confused, because quite a few people in her life were Trump supporters. She told me that some of her boyfriend’s friends (he’s White) were happy about the election results, which she was, of course, not happy to hear. “It makes me wonder what they really think of minorities…and me” she said in a message. I told her that if his friends treat her well and haven’t given her reason in the past to distance herself from them, I wouldn’t say that she needs to avoid them completely. “But keep your eyes and ears open, Maggie,” I replied. People have a habit of smiling in your face and then calling you everything but a child of God behind your back.
And while she could find relief in the fact that the majority of her boyfriend’s friends are not Trump supporters, she was conflicted about what to do in terms of one close friend.
After sharing with me her surprise at not realizing how many people in this country are closeted racists, misogynists and generally beings filled with hate, she informed me that a friend text her during our conversation to confess that she, too, had voted for Donald Trump. “This is a young, educated white woman we’re talking about,” she said, completely in shock. And while Maggie’s friend said that she only voted for him because she agrees with his plans on ways to going about changing the economy, Maggie also said that the young woman had once stood in her kitchen and admitted to supporting the ban on Muslims.
So much for it only being out the economy…
Maggie now found herself wondering if, in the aftermath of Tuesday’s election and the wake-up call it’s given many on the people around us, she should distance herself from her friend. “I can’t say for sure whether or not I can look past this.” That was the last thing she text me before calling it a night — or going off to be in deep thought.
My own advice to her wasn’t necessarily positive, to be honest. I’m still completely waist-deep in my feelings about the results, so I basically told her that her friend was a troll. Not my exact words. They were actually a lot worse…
But I digress.
I really had to think about it, though. While I could give her all of the advice on how to deal with her friend, I wondered the exact same thing that she did. If someone I called friend who hadn’t treated me poorly had very questionable views and was a Trump supporter to boot, could I look past it and still embrace them?
I’ve actually seen quite a few stories online since Tuesday with people lamenting the choices their own family members made to vote for Trump. With the impact his election and an all-Republican Congress could have on women’s health, immigration, the Affordable Care Act, and the overall climate of the country we live in, those writers were quite hurt. And while you can’t choose your family, you do have all the say in your friends. If one of them made the decision to support a bigot and help him become the president of the United States, one can’t help but feel the need to wonder if they really know that friend.
Overall, it’s an intense situation. It’s easy to cut off old college friends on social media and associates you don’t really spend that much time with. It’s nowhere near a simple task when it comes to distancing yourself from people you value in your life. So what’s the best move for you? You either ask yourself, “If they think this way, how can we be friends?” or step up and give them a different perspective in the hopes that they might eventually see things differently, or at least see where you’re coming from. It is true that people can change. Well, maybe not Donald Trump — but most people.
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