De-friend, Unfollow and Block—Deleting Friends Over Political Views
By: Alissa Mangiacapre
Facebook and Twitter feeds were overflowing with political debates during the 2016 presidential election. Opinions were shared, heated arguments “broke out” and tempers were lost. For Jennifer and Katie, the results are in and they have discovered which of their companions will not be running for another friendship term.
In a study conducted by Monmouth University, polling 802 American voters by phone, 70% believed the presidential election “has brought out the worst in people,” according to the university’s website. The poll also found that: “7% of voters report having lost or ended a friendship because of this year’s presidential race.” A reporter from The Banner spoke with two people who agree with Monmouth’s findings while wholeheartedly disagreeing with each other’s political stance.
A local DJ in the New York City techno scene has been receiving an enormous amount of backlash from her friends on social media after she began tweeting her political opinions. Jennifer, the Staten Island based musician, has asked that we change her name in order to maintain privacy.
Jen spins tribal, deep-tech, techno and afro-house at various spots throughout the Brooklyn-Manhattan area. Music and dance have always been passions of hers while growing up in New York. The dark haired, bright-eyed, headstrong woman dedicates all her free time to perfecting her craft and making a name for herself in the fast-paced industry. “I’m trying. This industry is tough, but so am I. So I definitely belong,” Jen proclaimed.
Thick skin was needed to combat the negative responses she received from her fellow music fans and longtime friends. Jen claims to have lost over a dozen friendships after she began to show support for President Trump via her social media platform. “I got blocked by like twenty people,” she laughed. “Political views should have zero reflection on [my] work.”
It is unclear whether her political stance had a significant impact on her music career, but it has undoubtedly put a strain on her personal relationships off the dance floor. She has been called “arrogant” for expressing her support for Trump and had to defend her views on many occasions. Jen believes that Trump’s plans are exactly what this country needs and her view of his campaign “in no way merits name-calling,” she expressed.
She claims to be unaffected by those who have blocked her, denying having ever said anything offensive. She maintains that, “They’re just sore losers who cannot face reality,” stating that “unless [I am] a threat to society, then they’re just weak [minded].” Music is often a medium used to bring people together. Jen finds it disappointing that friendships within the scene have been torn apart because of politics.
Like Jen, Katie is also a techno/house music fan with a bubbly personality and a big heart. Katie is a cocktail waitress in Queens and an outspoken Democrat. After months of increasingly hostile exchanges, Katie has chosen to block and unfollow a handful of friends on social media. The slim-figured, dark-haired beauty explained, “I have had to block people because of a difference in political views and I’ve had to de-friend many for just being ignorant.”
Not everyone decides to end friendships in “real life” over Facebook tiffs, but in some cases the debates become increasingly stressful. As a liberal voter, Katie is said to have found Trump’s “harsh rhetoric” offensive, whereas Jen found his campaign “tough and honest.” Jen is not alone in her views, “Nearly half of Trump voters (47%) say that the campaign’s harsh language is justified, compared to only 17% of Clinton voters,” according to Monmouth University’s study.
Jen and Katie were interviewed separately and were not questioned about one another. Both women exude the same type of confidence when discussing politics and stand by their convictions whenever challenged. Though these women find themselves on opposing sides, Jen and Katie both expressed common interests. They value friendship and believe that music creates connections and long-lasting bonds between people. They both answered, “No regrets!” when asked about losing friends due to opposing political views.
The 2016 presidential election tore apart friendships while also highlighting the similarities between strong-willed people who do not agree on a political standpoint. Katie wishes that her former friends “were more well-informed.” Jen believes that we ought to: “Make friendships great again!”
Categories: Sex and Relationships