Hi, our names our Natalie and Jenna. We are both Republican. Our friends... not so much. How do we deal with the tension and differing opinions? How can we have friends and relationships with different viewpoints? Well, we will tell you.
First, let's meet the panel:
What party do you identify with and why?
Jenna: I am very conservative and consider myself a Republican. Many of my beliefs align with their party, and I really agree with their leadership and ideas.
Natalie: I identify with the Republican Party because I believe that that party is what's going to make America better.
What party do most of your friends identify with?
Jenna: I feel like every single one of my friends are Democrats, but I know that's not true. So I guess you could say that almost all of my friends are democratic.
Natalie: It's pretty 50/50. Some friends are Republican and some are Democratic, but I try not to let politics help me decide who I do and don't want to be friends with.
Do you share the same political views with your parents?
Jenna: My parents have always been really conservative. I feel like being raised in a conservative home somewhat shaped who I am today. I don't agree with everything my parents believe, but we are all Republican and vote for the same candidates.
Natalie: Yes, I have the same beliefs as my parents. However, I will say that I was raised in a household where my parents would never push me to believe anything. They want me to believe in the things I do because of logic and reason, not because "that's how I was raised."
How do you maintain a healthy relationship with friends who have differing views?
Jenna: My friends and I rarely talk about our political views with one another, because we know it's a personal thing and we will all think differently. If we do start talking about a topic, like abortion, things can get pretty heated. In this situation, I never bash them or their beliefs. I simply state mine. If they don't agree, fine. It's their opinion.
Natalie: Like I said before, I don't let politics play a part in my friendships. If someone I'm friends with has differing views than me and they start degrading me or pushing their beliefs down my throat, I cut them off.
How do you handle the friends who shame you for your political beliefs?
Jenna: If my friends shame me for something I believe in, I don't consider them a friend. Friends should accept each other and never put another down. The moment they start shaming me, they're gone.
Natalie: I stick up for what I believe in so if someone shames me for my beliefs, I defend myself. I don't ever resort to name-calling or trying to be blatantly mean, but I do defend myself.
How should people treat others with differing views than themselves?
Jenna: Always always always treat others with respect. If a conversation sparks about political differences, keep things political and not let the conversation get too personal or relational. In the end, if someone doesn't believe exactly what you do, either accept them for what they believe or don't talk to them. Do anything accept confront them and start a fight.
Natalie: Everyone has the right to their own opinion and politics do play a huge role in the U.S. Personally, the best thing for me to do is know where I stand and where the other person stands. If I know we can't have a civil conversation without fighting over our beliefs, then I won't even bring up my political beliefs unless I'm asked.
Just remember that everyone has different beliefs, and that's OK! Don't sabotage your friendships or relationships just because you don't agree on who should be running the country.